All the Single Ladies

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What Women Want (to hear)

Published July 21, 2016 by Dawn

A recent independent poll* identified several common longings of the young, female heart. Specifically, things a girl wants to hear from a guy. I took great pleasure last night in taking those longings into the Word of God and finding their origination there. Below is my compilation, which I shared with my group of young women at church (yes, I fawned throughout the entire discussion!):

  • “I love you.”
    • I have loved you with an everlasting love …” Jeremiah 31:3
  • “You are worth the wait.”
    • “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” S. of S. 8:4
  • “You mean the world to me.”
    • “When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” John 19:30
  • “It’s us against the world.”
    • “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
  • “We can do this together.”
    • “With man, this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
  • “You are the one.”
    • “I belong to my beloved and his desire is for me.” S. of S. 7:10
  • “I don’t want anyone else.”
    • “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you.” 1 Thess. 1:4
  • “I would follow you anywhere.”
    • “ … As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Joshua 1:5
  • “You are beautiful just the way you are.”
    • “… show me your face, let me hear your sweet voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.” S. of S. 2:14
  • “You are beautiful.”
    • “You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace.” S. of S. 4:9
  • “You are strong and independent.”
    • “With your help, I can advance against a troop; with my God, I can scale a wall.” Psalm 18:29
  • “I have a strong relationship with God.”
    • “I and the Father are one.” John 10:30
  • I love you so very much, and I mean it with every fiber of my being.”
    • “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
  • “Will you take my hand and be my wife until death do us part?”
    • “For your Maker is your husband – the Lord Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.” Isaiah 54:5

Along with these, there were a few more superficial ones I enjoyed and used as well. Keep reading!

  • “I’m buying.”
    • “And my God will meet all of your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
  • “You can order anything on the menu.”
    • “You may ask me for anything in my name and I will do it.” John 14:14
  • “No other girl could compare to you. You are beautiful, crazy, smart, funny, darling, and so outgoing. You make me so incredibly happy.”
    • “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves you. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
  • “She may be pretty, but to me you are the most beautiful girl I have ever laid eyes on, inside and out.”
    • “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Prov. 31:29
  • “Your hair looks amazing.”
    • “How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead.” S. of S. 4:1
  • “That dress is lovely.”
    • “I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10
  • “I have a well-paying job.”
    • “ … for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.” Psalm 51:10
  • “Is this diamond big enough?”
    • “I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if this had been too little, I would have given you even more.”

I love how God fills us! I love how the Bible says all the things we are longing to hear, turning our hearts back to the Lord even while the world is tempting us to find our satisfaction in a worldly relationship. I also love two amazing young women who opened their hearts in a very real way and helped make this lesson to other young women so poignant and real. You both rock my world, and I am blessed to know your heart a little more. Love you Ky and Haleigh!

*It was unscientific and written out on notecards by a thirteen- and sixteen-year-old.

A New Look at an Old Flame

Published January 29, 2016 by Dawn

It’s almost February … Almost V-day. I’ve dreaded Valentine’s Day for so many years, and this one started out per the norm, with the usual mixture of dread and anticipation. All the singles out there know what I’m talking about … sure you’re going to spend it alone, but slightly hopeful that you might trip into a hottie somewhere, like they do in the movies, and be married a year later. Because people fall in love in February, right?

So, I was trying to pray on the way to work this morning, but also thinking about this guy I have a crush on, which was really weird. I was thanking the Lord for being my companion, all the while thinking about this guy and kinda wishing … And I realized that the last seven years of my life have been a lot like this. I’ve talked about the Lord being my husband, worshipped him from this place of marital security and adored him as the Lover of my Soul, all the while praying for a husband. And I’ve spent Valentine’s Day defiantly ignoring all human emotions, and absorbing myself in worship and prayer to fend off deep feelings of insecurity and morbid self-loathing because deep down inside, I’m very certain that something must be wrong with me or I’d be happily married by now.

The irony of this disconnect finally hit me full force this morning. I have been allowing the Lord to pursue me these past years, reveling in his attention but hardly sustaining eye contact for very long before my wandering heart drags my attention away to the really cute guy in aisle four. Sure, I have moments of reciprocity where Jesus knows I’m totally sold out and into Him. But I also have (many) moments of staring straight through him, entertaining the tug of war between satisfaction and longing.

In light of this illumination, I decided that this year, I will not be complacent and let emotions toss me to and fro. I’m going to be proactive in my relationship with the Lord. I’ve let him pursue me and responded half-heartedly to his intense affections. This year, I am going pursue him. Not the guy in aisle four, but Jesus. I’m going to capture the heart of my First Love. I’m going to woo Him just as intentionally as He woos me. Starting now. And this Valentine’s day, I imagine, is going to be the first of its kind.

When I said “I do”

Published January 8, 2015 by Dawn

I knelt before my Father and said, “I’m ready to get married. Only I know I won’t choose well. Will you find him for me?”

My Father said, “Yes. Tell me, daughter, what is it you seek in a man?”

I read Him my rather long list and ended with, “But above all, he must love you more. That’s what’s most important to me.”

My Father assured me of His love for me, and His desire to give me His best. He said, “Leave it in my hands, daughter. I will surely bring this man to you.”

As time wore on, My Father continually assured me of His faithful work on my behalf. But I kept getting anxious, and looking here and there, said, “It is him! Oh, Father, is it this one? Is it that one” My Father simply smiled and said, “In due time, you will know.”

As more time passed, I began to fret and worry, and I stormed into my Father’s room and said, “You aren’t doing anything! How can you keep speaking of your Will and your Way when you aren’t even working? Where is he, then?”

And my Father stood and looked at me and said very lovingly, “When you sent me to find him, you said you wanted my will. That was the moment you said “I do” to this man. It’s a vow you made to me when you asked. You cannot ask for my will, and then pursue your own, and wonder why things are not working out. You have asked for my will and you shall have it. In my time, and my way. And he may not look like you assume he should, his job may not seem prestigious. His background may not sparkle and shine, and his proclivities may not enamor you. But he will be my best for you. Now daughter, do you trust me?”

“I do.”

Your Daddy’s Shotgun

Published September 10, 2013 by Dawn

Hey, I know you! You’re that Christian girl with a fantastic smile and a great personality, who can light up a room in seconds. Did I mention, you are also BEAUTIFUL? Yeah, you’re the girl with the ring on her left hand … the ring of purity, because you promised your Daddy to stay that way until marriage. I don’t know if it bears any significance in truth, but it means something just because it’s there, right? You’re also that girl wondering why no guy worth anything notices you and why the ones who do tuck tail and run shortly after. I know you, girl. We’re a lot alike, after all.

I wish I could say it gets better. It doesn’t. But one  thing you might not have ever noticed before … it’s your Daddy, standing behind you with His shotgun.

Yes, I had this visual today, as I reminisced over the past few years of my life. I was wondering why no relationship ever came close to being good, and why the good guys never came close, period. And for the first time, I saw Him, my Daddy, standing guard over me with His shotgun. And I rolled my eyes and giggled … Gosh, Dad. No wonder!

My earthly father was nothing like this, so how was I to know that when God asked me to let Him guard my heart, He was just that serious? I laugh now at the thought that no guy in his right mind would flippantly approach my Daddy. Any guy with the guts to even come into the room to court me has to have his ducks in a row, because my Daddy won’t stand for anything less. And He isn’t lowering the barrel until that guy gets on His knees and asks for mercy … and then for my heart.

Yep, dear sister, our Daddy cares way too much about us to let just anybody have our heart. As for the guys out there, there are really only a few options to choose from: they will either come into the parlor and sit down with Dad for a while, or they will run. Whatever you do, don’t run with them! Your Daddy knows best. Any man with good intentions will brave the threshold of the house and boldly approach your Father. The ones who run had no intention of doing you any lasting good.

Sometimes, even after you’ve stood there anxiously waiting for your Daddy’s approval, He may still say “no”. Though it bears a heavy weight of disappointment, trust that your Father knows best. Throw a fit, if you need to. Run up to your room and scream and cry. But come down later and climb into Daddy’s lap and let Him reassure you of His best intentions in your life. Whatever you have to let go, no matter how precious it seems now, is nothing compared to what He will eventually allow into your life. And you will thank Him for His wisdom and patience.

So next time some guy inexplicably disappears after what you thought was a great time together, just know it wasn’t you. It was your Daddy’s shotgun.

Awakening Love

Published September 3, 2013 by Dawn

“I will get up and go about the city … I will search for the one my heart loves. (3:2)”

From the mouth of a woman in love, Solomon’s Shulamite admits her own weakness: her desire. Without realizing it, she is driven along by desire to chase a sight of the man she loves. It’s the middle of the night! I just love the Song of Solomon. It’s everything a good love story should be. Two people pursuing one another and confident in each other. Able to trust and not afraid. In fact, do you know what’s missing in the Songs of Solomon? Indication of insecurities. I know why too. Check out this verse that echoes throughout: “Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you, do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” At this very moment, every part of me is screaming, “it’s so hard not too!”

It’s electric. How do you stop a current so strong when it’s pulsing through every part of you? How do you keep passion at bay when it’s literally grasping for a spark to ignite it? And then, once it’s been ignited, how do you keep it to yourself? I wonder, how often do we do this to ourselves? How often do we awaken love and then suffer the insecurities that come along with our haste? Sometimes, flowing with the stream of our emotions it seems that the desires of our hearts have materialized and we want so badly to reach out and take it. Is that the proper response? Would God have us to wait? Is there a better way than to grab hold of it now?

I look at the advice of the Shulamite, who was completely confident in Solomon’s love for her. She’s not fighting herself. There’s no inner dialogue of fear going on. She’s not afraid of rejection. She trusts that he is as completely engulfed in their love. She boasts of it. Her secret worth our awe: “Do not awaken love until it so desires.”

I have struggled with this verse. Perhaps that’s why I am still entertaining such fears and insecurities in this area of my life. I dissected it today, and here’s what I see: The word “it” here refers to “love”, right? First John 4:8 says “…God is love.” Therefore, we are admonished to not awaken love until God desires. The Shulamite is no idiot. She knows the heart of a woman well. One minute, she’s in bed, the next, she is aimlessly wondering the streets looking for her man, trying to catch his eye. She has a longing for him that is steering her. Basically, what she’s saying to us is, “Get it under control, girl. Wait on God!” Our insecurities are a direct result of chasing after things that the Lord never intended for us. Relationships come and go and leave these nasty marks on our hearts. And then, when the guy comes along who intends to sweep us off our feet, we struggle to allow him to pursue us. Once love has truly been awakened, we hesitate.

I don’t know how many times I have looked to Heaven and cried, “Daddy, save me!” And He just looks at me and smiles in pity. “Daughter, can you trust me?” And that’s the problem. My insecurities even mar my relationship with my Heavenly Father. No matter what comes out of my mouth, the truth is that if I can’t wait for Him to put a man in my life who is led by His spirit to love me, I clearly do not trust Him in this. Dear God, how I want to.

Father,
You do not lie and you have spoken sweet blessings and promises into my heart. Help me not to pursue them, but to pursue you and allow your gifts and blessings to overtake me. Lord, help me to trust your Spirit to bring this man, and help me to not entertain my own fears and insecurities. I want to be secure in his love, just like I am secure in yours. Once again, I ask you to hold my heart until he asks you for it. And may there be no striving as you awaken this love in us. Thank you, Daddy, for your word which brings life. I love you for it.

PS. Here’s a little nugget for the weary women who don’t think men pursue: “I went down to the grove of nut trees to look at the new growth in the valley … Before I realized it, my desire set me among the royal chariots of my people. 6:11-12)” Straight from the mouth of Solomon, he was also driven by desire at times. Let God do His thing and trust Him in it!

Dancing with Him

Published July 8, 2013 by Dawn

I love to dance. Well, I love to fantasize about dancing. I’ve never actually had a romantic moment on the dance floor before. When I was younger, I loved to dance but I learned how to dance from an aunt who was once a stripper, so … obviously there was nothing romantic about my first experience on the dance floor. In high school, I skipped both my junior and senior prom because I didn’t want to go. I was a mother by the time my junior prom rolled around, and I didn’t care much for the guy who asked me to my senior prom. Since then, I have danced at weddings, but never with someone who wasn’t the bride or groom, and therefore, never with someone who wasn’t dancing with me for the money. This week, I had my first experience slow dancing with a very romantic Husband and it was pure bliss!

I was at church and we were singing:

When I look into your holiness, when I gaze into your loveliness, when all things that surround become shadows in the light of you … When I’ve found the joy of reaching your heart, when my will becomes enthralled in your love, when all things that surround become shadows in the light of you … I worship you! I worship you! The reason I live is to worship you! I worship you! I worship you! The reason I live is to worship you!

As I sang to Him and just allowed Him to wrap His loving arms around me, I became aware of only He and I and then began the most precious dance with the Lord. “His left hand is under my head and His right hand embraces me. (Song 8:2)”

I was just really aware of my dance with Jesus in that moment. I could literally feel his arms around me, and I could feel us dancing amidst the things that have become shadows in the light of Him. It was glorious. I couldn’t keep myself from smiling. Everything else lost it’s luster in that moment. I have finally embraced my marriage to the Son of God. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever held on to in my life.

I now understand the repeated verse in Song of Solomon that says, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases.” I believe that the Lord has something to teach us about love before we become wooed by the love of a man. First of all, He must show us what love is. And who better to show us than God, who is love! And then, He must show us how to accept love. How to be loved, because in all honesty, most of us do not know how to be loved properly. Then, He must show us how to love. I would rather learn to love by loving God first, because He can handle all my failed attempts without becoming hurt or feeling disillusioned. And then, like a Father giving His blessings over our upcoming marriage, He also must teach us how to dance. How to hold and be held by another, how to look into another’s eyes and accept that we are adored. How to allow ourselves to be embraced. Because when we get married, we want to know how to dance … not like a stripper, but like a lady. The daughter of a King. The bride of Christ!

Singing Praises in Marriage

Published July 1, 2013 by Dawn

VBS last week was such a blessing, and not just because of the ministry opportunity or the message that went forth everyday. I was completely blessed by this older couple who were there. They were the two responsible for pioneering the effort, and the driving force behind the great success that it was. They shared with us on the second day that they were soon to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary, and both of them agreed that it was the best 45 years of their lives. They are among a very few number of couples I know who profess love and admiration for each other after such a long time. I am so used to hearing someone say with a sigh something to the effect that their marriage was rough or less than perfect. Their attitudes toward one another and their marriage was so refreshing to me as I continue to pray about that yet-to-be in my life. If that day were the only time I heard them joyfully acknowledge their union, I might have been a little skeptical, but their reverence for and enjoyment of one another is evident in every interaction I have ever been privileged to see between them. Both are very complimentary, and neither takes any action of the other for granted. There is always a beautiful thanks in response to deeds done in love between them, and always attended by a compliment toward the giver. I love to witness their love in action, because it’s such a rarity.

I spent four days witnessing this deep affection between them, and was blessed more and more each day. It affected me to the point that I began to pray, “Lord, how does this look between us, if you are my husband? How can I lavish on you?” And He was very quick to respond, “Sing to me your praise!”

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? I should have known this. I’ve been a part of the praise team most of my life, since I was probably ten. And though I’ve had times of being lost in admiration while singing to Him, I guess I never realized the impact praise could have on the Lord. As I watched these two praise one another in so many ways, the reaction of the one being praised was immediate and wonderful to behold. You could literally see their hearts’ smile. They were radiant, and you could see that the compliment had filled them to the brim with joy and love. As the giver sang praises of the other, the receiver became full. And as they exchanged their affections, each blessed and received blessings. What an awesome exchange!

I was able to immerse myself in this new knowledge at church on Sunday, and the worship experience was new and wonderful. I sang to my Husband,

“Everyday with you, Lord, is sweeter than the day before … Every morning I will worship, every evening I’ll adore, ‘cuz every day with you is sweeter, sweeter than the day before.”

Followed by

“Thanks, thanks! I give you thanks for all you have done. I am so blessed, my soul has found rest. Oh Lord, I give you thanks!”

And then,

“Who is like you, Lord in all the earth? Matchless love and beauty, endless worth! Nothing in this world will satisfy. Jesus you’re the cup that won’t run dry. Your presence is heaven to me! Your presence is heaven to me! Treasure of my heart and of my soul. In my weakness you are merciful. Redeemer of my past and present wrongs. Holder of my future days to come … All my days on earth I will await the moment that I see you face to face. Your presence is heaven to me! Your presence is heaven to me!”

Would not your heart just swell if someone said such beautiful things to you? If a man were to lovingly look me in the eye and tell me I’m the treasure of his heart, I’d melt right there at his feet. Were he to tell me I had matchless love and beauty, endless worth, I’d be forever devoted to him from the depths of my heart, and not just out of obedience to my commitment. If he were to tell me that everyday with me is sweeter than the day before, I’d do my best to outdo myself every day thereafter. And the more he told me thanks, the more I’d lavish on him just to hear it. How much more must our praise bless the heart of God? After all, I’m imperfect and know without a shadow of doubt what my reactions would be in such a relationship. The Lord is perfect, and His love is deeper than I will ever be capable of. Surely we can bless His heart in such a way that He can’t help but lavish on us. And if all He ever lavished was His love, we’d have more than we ever needed. But He’s so good to us, and heaps on us material blessings as well. All in response to our praise! Who is like you, Lord, in all the earth?!

Lord, how blessed I am that you are my Husband. The provider of my needs, my comforter and shelter from life’s storms. How blessed I am that you lavish on me, not because I deserve it but because of who you are. This love that we share is indescribably sweet, and I could not part with it for a lesser thing. You are more than enough for me. I know, Lord, that you will eventually send someone into my life as your earthly vessel to minister as my husband, and Lord, I thank you for him. I pray that you will begin even now to show him how to love me as you do, because how can I settle for less? Thank you for fulfilling the deepest needs and desires within me. You are wonderful! I love you so much, and continue to grow in that love every day. Amen