It’s almost here.

The box came last night. It’s real life, friends.

The drop date is May 10, two weeks from today.

What a weird little season this is. It’s a really personal book. I’m nervous. But when I push my nerves aside, the reality is I’m always happy to tell the story of how God became the biggest thing in my life, the thing that overshadowed everything else until the dreams I’d had for myself faded away.

If you’d like, you can check out the synopsis and the preorder links here.

I’m excited to see what God has planned. He always has something in mind.

And it’s always good.

book

‘We can find you one.’

“I’m so happy to meet your new husband,” she said to a friend before jabbing me jokingly with an elbow as I passed. “Now you just need to find Grace one.”

She patted my arm.

“I heard what you said about Lottie Moon earlier. But I still think we can find you one.”

I’ll go ahead and tell you that singleness is not my favorite topic. Not that it’s a bad topic … I just would prefer for it to be brought up in conversation with the frequency of my subtle toenail polish color (hey, that really matches your dress) rather than that of an electric blue Mohawk (WHOA, would you look at that! That’s so bizarre! I know a great place around the corner where you can get that toned down … ).

Ideally I’d just like for that part of me to fade into the background and let – hopefully – the Jesus inside me come to the front instead.

I had told a story about Lottie Moon to a few folks that day, about how she had spent herself feeding the Chinese – physically and spiritually – and the starvation eventually got her.

But not before reaching many with the hope of Jesus.

“How many there are … who imagine that because Jesus paid it all, they need pay nothing, forgetting that the prime object of their salvation was that they should follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ in bringing back a lost world to God.”

Lottie had an opportunity to marry once. But she knew she was meant for China. He didn’t feel the same way.

“God had first claim on my life, and since the two conflicted, there could be no question about the result.”

It was that simple.

Now I’m no Lottie Moon. Wow, I wish someday I could be a tiny sliver of the lady she was.

But what I am right now is a single woman fighting daily to cling hard and fast to a Savior who’s the most amazing thing life has to offer. Eternity has to offer. At the moment, there’s no husband. Every day I get up and do what disciples of Jesus do – sit dumbfounded at the infinite grace and joy we’ve been handed for free, and fight hard against distractions and my own flesh, fighting to keep my eyes locked on Him. I fight to take His love to the ends of the earth and finish well.

It’s not entirely helpful when I’m in full-on battle mode to hear that I need a different life, even when the comments are made in love.

I love Him, and I want to live the life He gave me.

I want to pack light. I want Him to spend me out in the best way He can use my single life. I want to have time to give from sunup to sundown to relieve the moms who just need a minute alone with Jesus to grieve or rest or decompress. To talk with friends who need it, when they need it, for as long as they need it. To move in with someone for a couple of weeks when they need some extra help close at hand. I want time to pray fervently for others.

My heart was so encouraged a while back when I listened to the podcast of one of our pastors from church speaking about singleness. Not that it’s never been said before, but I needed to hear that message that day.

That marriage is brilliant and messy and God-ordained for some to be the way God shows the Gospel in a human picture … Him giving Himself for His bride, the Church.

And that singleness is brilliant and messy and God-ordained for some to be able to share the Gospel without having the demands of a family (1 Corinthians 7:32-34).

Both of them valid. Both of them needed.

Right now I’m living in the second.

Either way, He’s all I need.

DSC_0228

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

i dont wait anymore

(I Don’t Wait Anymore (the book), now available.)