the gifts of singleness and marriage

Wife_and_mother_1 The desire to be a wife and mother has been lingering in my heart for a few months now.  When I was 16 or 17, God and I had a conversation.  I had just found out I had PCOS and might not be able to have children.  At that time in my life, all I wanted to be was a wife and mother.  To be a stay at home mom was my career goal.  I was an avid Elisabeth Elliot reader and had several other books on my selves such as A Good Man is Hard to Find Unless You Ask God to be the Head of Your Search Commitee.

My conversation with God went something like this:
God: Amanda, would you be willing to not have children if it meant serving me better?
Amanda: But, God, I love children and want to be a mother so much.  However, now I know I might not be able to birth children, could I adopt?
God: My question is: would you be willing to not be a mother if it means serving me better?
Amanda: Oh.  Well, I would be very sad if I could not be a mother, but if I could serve you better, then OK; I am willing.
God:  What about being a wife?  Would you be willing to be single if it meant serving me better?
Amanda: Yes, Lord, if it means serving you better.  Yes, I am willing.

After that conversation, I realized that books about singleness and marriage were more important to me than my Bible.  I also had great peace about being single and enjoyed growing closer to God and finding out some of his neat plans for my life that never could have happened if I had followed my own "life plan."

Then it came time for college.  My friends and classmates started dating and getting married.  It was very hard to not be jealous of them.  It was at this time that God and I had another discussion.  He showed me 1 Corthians 7.  He convinced me that my friends were exchanging their gift of singleness for the gift of marriage, but that my singleness was still a gift.  That I should celebrate with them, knowing my God is a good gift giver (Matthew 7) and both mine and their gifts were good.  Again, I had peace about being single and was able to celebrate with my friends.

I have never truly been on "a date."  I am now almost 28.  American media makes fun of people who haven't had sex in a month or even in a week--I have now gone my whole life without a real date and with never even being kissed by a man.  Oh, what would the media do with that?!?  But this is an off topic blip in my post. 

My point is this: for the first time in over 10 years, I am starting to long for marriage and motherhood again.  Why now?  Is it me not being wholly satisified in my Father?  Is it because my younger sister is getting married?  Is it because my best friend from college became a mother this year? Or, is it because my Father is stirring up the desires of my heart because something is going to change?    

In November, I read 1 Corinthians 7 nearly every morning.  I really like verse 17: "And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there. God, not your marital status, defines your life."  And I wrote about my longings in my first blog in June and November.   

When I read 1 Corinthins 7 again this fall . . . 2 things stuck out to me 1) I can use my time as a single to become more intimate with my Savior and 2) "marriage is spiritually and morally right and not inferior to singleness in any way" in other words marriage is not a step up or a step down from singleness. 

I was just now surfing the net when I found an article by Albert Hsu entiled "Demystifying The Gift Of Singleness."  The end of his article further explains/supports the second idea above:

Furthermore, the gift of singleness does not determine an unalterable lifelong destiny. In fact, everybody starts out with the gift of singleness. The "gift" of singleness is descriptive, not restrictive. It does not prevent singles from getting married if they so desire and circumstances permit. Neither singleness nor marriage is a permanent state; both can be temporary.

In addition, the metaphor of a gift exchange affirms that singleness and marriage are gifts of equal value. It is rude to refuse a gift, to tell a giver that you don't want what you received and throw it back in his or her face. However, it can be entirely appropriate to exchange a gift for a different one of equal value. Think about taking a Christmas gift back to the store. You can't exchange it for something that's more expensive. But you can exchange it for something of the same value.

So it is with marriage and singleness. When a single gets married, it is not a promotion, a step up to a more valued position, as though marriage were a more expensive Christmas gift. Rather, it is an exchange of one gift for another of equal value.

Still not sure what my heart is doing right now or why it is doing it.  Still not sure what I am longing for.  But I do still rest in the One who gives good gifts and trust Him alone to satisify my desires.

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