I don’t wait anymore.

When I was 16, I got a purity ring.

And when I was 25, I took it off.

I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it — it wasn’t a statement or an emotional thing. I just slipped it off my finger that day and, before tucking it away in a box, ran my finger around the words on the familiar gold band.

“True Love Waits.” Waits.

What’s it “waiting” for, anyway?

*****

I had my reasons for deciding not to wear it anymore. Other people might have other reasons. It’s a graveyard of hearts, this place where single church girls crash into their late 20s and early 30s. Churches see the symptoms. They scramble to reach out to the ever-growing young adult singles crowd who feels alienated by family-oriented services.

But there’s something bigger behind it than that.

Much bigger.

There are a lot of girls out there who don’t know who God is anymore – the God of their youth group years just isn’t working out. Back then, that God said to wait for sex until they are married, until He brings the right man along for a husband. They signed a card and put it on the altar and pledged to wait.

And wait they did.

*****

And waited and waited and waited.

Some of them have prayed their whole lives for a husband, and he hasn’t shown up. They’ve heard the advice to “be the woman God made you to be, focus on that, and then the husband will come.” They’ve read “Lady in Waiting,” gotten super involved in church and honed their domestic skills.

And still they wait.

More than a decade ago, a youth leader handed them a photocopied poem in Sunday School written to them from “God” that said, “The reason you don’t have anyone yet is because you’re not fully satisfied in Me. You have to be satisfied with Me and then when you least expect it, I’ll bring you the person I meant for you.”

And the girls see it posted on their bulletin boards from time to time.

“You’re right, God,” they say. “We’re not satisfied in you yet. We will put you first and then you can bring us a husband in your timing.”

But many of them – if they’re honest – will tell you that time has passed, and it’s wrecking their view of God.

If this is who God’s supposed to be, then He’s tragically late.

So some decide to chuck “Lady in Waiting” out the window … and possibly their virginity with it. Church goes next. God might go next, too. If He doesn’t answer these prayers after they’ve held up their end of the bargain, why would He answer any others?

Whether it was the fault of the leaders, the fault of us girls, or both, a tragedy happened back then.

A lot of girls were sold on a deal and not on a Savior.

*****

I had that poem on my bulletin board all through high school – the one where “God” was telling me to fall in love with Him first and then I would be able to fall in love with a husband later.

Who wrote that poem anyway?

Pretty sure it wasn’t God.

When Jesus was here on the earth, the crowds would follow Him because they saw He gave good things. But that’s not what He wanted. He wanted their hearts for Himself. So He would turn to them and say things like, “If you don’t love Me so much that every other relationship in your life looks like hate by comparison, you can’t follow Me.” (Matthew 10:34-39, paraphrase)

That sounds a lot different from the poem.

Christ is the source of everything we need and the giver of all good gifts … but in telling people about Him, it’s possible we’ve sold them on a solution for life’s problems and not life itself.

What if we as girls had learned early on that having Him was everything, not a means to the life we think He would want us to have.

If we had learned we don’t abstain from sex because we’re “waiting.” We abstain because we love Him.

If I’d had on my bulletin board, “Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.

If I’d learned who He is, what He wants, how to give Him everything, not “wait” so that one day I could give my everything to someone else.

If I’d learned that it’s not bad to pray for a husband, but that my greater prayer should be for Him to spend my life as He chooses for His glory.

If we as believers make that our message, things could be drastically different for a lot of girls wondering why the God they think they learned to follow doesn’t compute. It doesn’t necessarily stop the desire for a husband or end all feelings of loneliness, but it does show a God who provides, loves and gives infinite purpose even to our singleness rather than a God who categorically denies some who pray for husbands while seemingly giving freely to others.

It shows that while marriage is good, He is the greater goal.

*****

Don’t think I’ve done this perfectly.

I’d be deceiving you if you thought that. I’ve had relationships where I made major mistakes. I’ve gone through angst-ridden phases where I met with friends to plead together with God to bring us husbands. I’ve planned major life decisions around possibilities.

I lived like I was waiting for something.

And that’s why I slipped off my ring that day. It wasn’t that I wanted to sleep with people – I haven’t. It wasn’t a slap to True Love Waits, or to anyone who wears a purity ring – saving sex for marriage is good and is His design.

I just didn’t want to wait anymore – didn’t want to live like I was waiting on anyone to get here.

I already have Him … and He is everything.

“Follow Christ for His own sake, if you follow Him at all.” – J.C. Ryle

1,696 responses

  1. I felt so challenged with this. I have a new insight on who Jesus Christ really is to me. I have stayed pure thus far because I know my future husband will be worth it when I meet – one day, but I know now that Christ is worth my purity forever. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Maybe instead of dreaming so much about who my future husband is, maybe I should be praying to my Savior about who He is. Love ya bunches, Emmy Paige <3

  2. I absolutely adore what you have written and appreciate it for anyone in any relationship status, as relationship with God supercedes all others. Thank you for your ministry, and I pray for God to continue to bless you abundantly.

  3. Just someone trying to give another excuse for not being faithful and being abstinent- sad world we live in now. And lets remember its not just girls who are waiting and being disappointed, its boys too. Only way to fix these issues is for us to open other peoples eyes to the word and get them to obey it, too often do girls turn away from god to be no more than a fraternities version of a prostitute in college. Let us all remember that Mary Magdalene WAS a prostitute; however once she found Jesus she stopped her ways. If you claim to be a christian, claim to be a disciple of Christ you must put a stop to evil ways.

    • I think you might have misunderstood the author’s message. Her article is a call to greater faithfulness and purity, not less. A purity ring, while a good and often important symbol (for certain people– it all depends on the individual), oftentimes focuses solely on sexual purity. Which is good and important. But idols defile the soul as much as sexual immorality, and the idols of marriage and “finding Mr. Right” are deceptively easy to bow down to. This article is not a call to sexual immorality; it is a call to cast down the idols of marriage, romance, etc. (which I know I have struggled with in the past and the occasional present) in favor of worshipping, seeking, and savoring Christ. It is a call for a shifting of perspective from “Christ is a means to a fulfilling marriage” to “all of life is a means to knowing Christ deeper.” :)

      • Food is not an idol to hungry people. It’s only an idol to gluttons who are already satisfied by it. Marriage is not an idol to unmarried young men and women who long for that intimate relationship only biblically allowed in a marriage. We’ve exchanged modern thought and lies for that which God created and calls holy. “truth hurts” is correct.

  4. God says that He wishes above all things that you prosper and be in good health, even as your soul prospers. 3 John 1:2. Trust me the Lord wants you to be happy. I know it doesn’t make sense when you look at your life, but it is not over yet for you where relationship and marriage is concerned. It isn’t over. And God can still give you something amazing.

  5. I am 48. I have been single a total of 19 years. I have been single most of my life. I am very tired of being alone. I did not see me being this old and alone this long. I serve in my church, pay my tithes to please the lord. I spend all of my holidays alone. I see people with husbands, boyfriends, and family. I am done with hoping and praying. I think God wants me to suffer. I accept this as His Will.

    • Maybe God is waiting for you to come to realize that you don not need a man to be fulfilled. You need Him and Him alone. You need to be happy with yourself, the one He created. To love yourself! And, maybe when you get to that point in your life, then without you even thinking about it and looking, He will then send you that perfect someone. Or, maybe not! But, my point is, focus on God and He alone and then watch wonderful things happen. But, you have to free up your mind and body to accept what He has to offer. God Bless!

    • I don’t claim to understand what you experience. This I can say, I have spent periods of time in strange countries with new languages and alien cultures. I was very alone and then when I would start to really fit it was time to go again. I could hardly call my family or those I loved and when I did they were short calls on a choppy internet connection. I lost many friendships during this time and no one understood me, even when I would visit my old home I felt like an alien. I often lived in hard conditions with very little money. I saw and experienced painful things, none which I shall ever forget. I won’t tell you how this all came to be for a young girl hardly out of high school, but I will tell you this was the journey God asked of me. It may sound strange to you that God should ask a journey like this of someone, you might not believe me. That’s ok with me, but do believe this. There were days I worried about food, days I was sick alone and knew without help I would die. God doesn’t wish me to suffer. Indeed these times have been the greatest blessing. I remember thinking once about how great I am to live the way I did, giving everything up to the smallest pocket change and most heart felt relationship and throwing it all on the alter. Didn’t he see my pain? Didn’t he know how alone I was? Didn’t he see me cry?Didn’t he know after the days alone when I wandered back to a small room of loneliness I would glance through the windows and see the families wishing with all my heart to be safely around a table with those I love? Wasn’t I holy to have taken this cross because of my love for him? No. I wasn’t holy. If we think life is bad, compared to we were given by his grace it’s nothing. But, yes. He did see me and he loved me. I was alone perhaps, but always provided for and always cared for. Sometimes it was strangers he would send, sometimes things would juat happen out of nowhere. He held all my tears and none were wasted. He didn’t want me to suffer but to learn and learn I did. I know what it’s like to feel completely alone in the world and that no words really take that pain away. But I also know wherever we are he can give us joy each morning. Just please please never think he wants you to suffer! Don’t mistake the kindest love and deepest affection for anything else. Don’t miss his heart for you!

  6. I can handle that there is not someone out there for everyone . What I can seem to handle is when some people elevate themselves and claim that God ” handpicked their spouse just for them ” . All I can say is prove it . Not saying God can’t I’m just not going along with their assumptions .

    I’m 38 I have never been a date . The author has not only dated she has been proposed too !!

    Try having none of that ! Try watching everyone around you date , married and have kids . Try watching your 13 and 11 year old nieces start dating

    I have been forgotten !!’

    • Kam75- I hear your pain in the words you have shared here. I don’t have any grand words of wisdom or catchy phrases to give you. Your pain is too deep for a cute bandage that offers no cure. I simply offer this prayer: Father I pray for Kam75 and others that she represents and ask that your love would move powerfully into every corner of her life. That you would ease her pain and bring her unspeakable joy in whatever form you please because you are greater than the pain that seeks to destroy her. Thank you for knowing who kam75 is and for being with her right now. In Jesus name amen.

    • I hear you girl, and I share your pain- the loneliness and sense of rejection. But the truth is that you have not been forgotten (though I know it feels like that sometimes). It is the world and media (and very unhelpful comments -in my experience- from other, mostly ‘Christian’ people) that tell you these lies. The truth is God has a plan for you, and his plan is good- to give you a hope and a future. I guarantee you 200% that God has not forgotten you- his thoughts towards you are greater than the number of grains of sand on the earth (that’s trillions)

      Like you I’m nearly 40 and single, have watched most of my siblings, friends and peers get married and have children, and have been given the message in a variety of ways, including to my face (!!) that not being married is not normal and therefore there must be something wrong with me…. (Yup, you read that correctly!)

      Let me be very clear about this: the truth is that YOU ARE precious and valuable and gifted and beloved and a whole lot more besides, regardless of whether you are single or married! You were created whole (not half!) and complete and perfect just as you are – being in a relationship won’t change that (despite common (mis)perceptions to the contrary).

      The Christian world seems to forget that Paul and Jesus, to name only two prime examples, were single at a time when that was even less the accepted norm than it is today.

      So, am I all loved up about the fact that Jesus is my husband? Not exactly…I can’t say that virtual hugs really do it for me! But I’m also not hanging around waiting for someone ‘special’ to turn up before my life can start, because that would imply that I’m not able to live life to the full now.
      So why am I still single? I don’t know why, but it know why I trust God, and he knows why.

  7. Interesting read. I took the author’s main point to be that she isn’t putting her life or Jesus on hold for some husband that others have told her will show up like Prince Charming on a white horse… conditional upon her faithfulness to the Lord.

    With that point I do agree. I won’t take ownership of telling even my own sister this message, though it does sound familiar to our circles. In fact, I have tried in recent days to walk the tight rope between playing God and following God’s promptings. Hopefully I have leaned more to the latter.

    I think the author could have made a stronger, clearer point about her Lord. A purity ring shouldn’t stand for putting him on hold while waiting for the man he’s supposed to bring. There is only good involved with something symbolic that reminds a person of the commitment they have made to sexual purity.

    Case and point, I have not removed my ring since my wife placed it on my finger. There have been times during this journey that I have held it up in the face of a woman on the hunt and deflected her advanced–”I am a married man. Though my wife has left me, I will remain faithful to her.”

    But what am I really saying? “Lord Jesus, I will be faithful to you!” That is because I made my marriage vow to him, involving my wife.

    My ring also encourages me even as it reminds me that love does wait. The author said she won’t wait anymore, but I think she would have been wise to clearly translate that for her readers–”I won’t put Jesus on hold while I wait! In fact, I will love him with all my heart!” Love does wait, at least when it has made a commitment to love someone in particular. For example, the LORD is waiting even now as he moves in the events of the world to bring it all to the seven years, at the culmination of which he will bring his own–Israel–to repentance and restoration. He has been waiting for over 2000 years and the prophets clearly speak of his love and commitment to Israel. Another example is the Lord Jesus as he waits for his Bride. He communicates his urgent love and concern for her in Revelation 2-3. And he promises to come for her in the clouds and receive her to himself in pure white.

    But the author has not met the man she chooses to marry, whether he be the one God wants her to marry or not. In other words, she has not yet made that commitment of marriage to one person for life. So where should her focus be? Should she immerse herself in romance novels, movies, or temporary relationships to get the fix she needs to get through each day? That’s what a lot of Christian girls do, even as the non-Christian girls jump from one bed to another as their own fix.

    No, I concur with the author as I think she is trying to say that she’s not putting Jesus on hold anymore. She’s going after him with all her heart.

    And if her Father crosses her path with a man whom she is to marry, then so be it. She will let Jesus love him through her. But if not, that is OK too.

    • Thank you this blessed comment. Very well said
      And I pray In Jesus Name, that God, our heavenly Father brings you and your wife together. Just as I am.believing He will do my my Dad and Mom.

  8. This is perfect. If you really know Him, and He lives in you, and you are about far more than “waiting for a husband|”, you will become a woman so dynamic and full of life that everyone, men and women will be drawn to you. He gives you life, and life in all it’s glory. Be so amazing, with His life shining out through you, that any man would be SO lucky to have you as his wife. Then, you are far more likely to find a husband anyway, than if you spend your whole life waiting.

    • While your comment may be true, Andrea, it misses the point. Loving God or putting Him first or however you want to put it is not a means to an end (of attracting someone into your life). What you describe is really no different than the waiting as described by the author. Just ask the many single women who already know Him yet remain unmarried. Or the many married people who do not know him. The point is that we need to put Him first. Period. Not to attract people, but because that’s how is plan for us is designed to work.

  9. Being Single at 30, and seeing all your friends around you ( that are younger then you mind you) get married…..it sux! Waiting is hard, but I try every day not “wait” but to continue to move forward in what God wants me to do, it’s not easy, I constantly fall, but I know God gives us the desires of our hearts, and I pray for my future Husband that he will be the man God wants him to be and the man that I need.
    I needed this so much, so thank you ;)

  10. This is great. I wrote an article about a similar topic here: http://diamonddiploma.com/what-i-learned-waiting-for-mr-right/

    In the end its about faith. You have to trust that following God is whats best for you and everyone else. He knows whats best for you and if that involves a guy then that will happen. If it doesn’t then, you know what? God knows best and you’re still privileged to live your time on this earth knowing Him.

    I will say though that I’ve seen way too many single Christian girls that are, quite frankly, not very deep. They’re good people and they love God, which is most important, but if challenged they wouldn’t be able to give a good defense of their faith. If the opportunity arose they aren’t able to give a compelling Gospel message.They don’t have interests and passions for things outside their own lives. This isn’t everyone but I’ve found it to be common. Girls, learn about the world, pursue things that matter outside of your own life and develop interests and educated opinions on things beyond what was on TV last night. Have substance and don’t waste your single years, or any years.

  11. I love how you don’t wait anymore. Coming from a place where I am 19 and a majority (no joke) of my peers are married, it’s been hard to always hear about how if I run towards God pick the guy that catches up or just plain and simple questions “so why are you still single?”. People tend to force the idea that something is wrong in your life or your heart if you don’t have a man that you are committing yourself to and him to you. The thing is, is I don’t want to get married for quite a few years, but I do yearn for the romance, but I don’t want to wait anymore. Wait for the year marriage is right, or the year “that” man shows up. Waiting is for people who refuse to see the life they have in front of them, I’ve always been a little boy crazy and sometimes made the mistake of being the pursuer or rather someone who sits in wait of something to happen, but not anymore.

  12. Finally a SMART Christian women to share these words with me! I’m so sick of this notion that to find happiness as a Christian I need to get married! Yes I want marriage but I feel pressure to adjust my life around this goal! I find it exhausting mentally. Thank you for some honest truth…. These words are what will keep me believing in a true gospel and not throwing in the towel!!! Amen

  13. Being told God called me to be single to serve him instead has wrecked my view of God and being told Jesus is my husband is wrecking my view of him
    I’m not married to Jesus !!

  14. Your blog speaks of heart change which has altered the way you live your life. Those ages 18 to 25 most are in the developmental stage of an “emerging adult” according to Arnett (2000) with most in this stage working hard at growing up and being an independent adult responsible for oneself and ones beliefs. It sounds like you have decided to follow Jesus, even if no romantic partner goes with you. Good choice. It is Jesus whom we must seek regardless of when or if another comes along besides us. Singles do have church family and their personal family with whom to have community with. Though, often this community can be difficult to find for older adult singles who often don’t fit in with the normal status quo life of married friends nor of the often more turbulent change filled life of the younger singles. It can be interesting figuring out one’s place in the church as an older single.

    Back to the topic at hand, marriage. I’m not married but I do believe that God can orchestrate the marriage of two people who are seeking him. However, if marriage is the goal, then both partners are bound to be disappointed because no one can make you happy all the time and never disappoint you, even if you’ve found Mr. or Mrs. Right. I’ve come to the same conclusion as you have in your blog. We must follow Jesus, period. I think there is joy in this heart attitude. Otherwise, sadness at not having your hearts desire sets in and and distracts you from the present which is meant to be enjoyed and spent on others in love and truth.

  15. I’m 24 this year. And I needed this more than you’ll ever know. From the very bottom of my heart . . . thank you, thank you for the reminder.

    I’m not praying for patience anymore. I’m praying for His Will, right now, whatever it is. xDDD

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