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31Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 9

 
Sometimes, I am like an Israelite. We just talked about them at Bible study last night and how they demanded that God give them meat. It’s easy for me to judge them from afar for being dissatisfied with the gifts that God gave them and wanting more. But, if I’m honest and I take a good look at my heart, then I will admit that sometimes, I am like an Israelite.
Yet they kept on with their sin, rebelling against the Most High in the desert. They willfully tested God in their hearts, demanding the foods they craved. They even spoke against God himself, saying, “God can’t give us food in the desert.”…Yes, his anger rose against Israel, for they did not believe God or trust him to care for them. But he commanded the skies to open—he opened the doors of heaven—and rained down manna for them to eat. He gave them bread from heaven. They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold. Psalm 78:17-25
Sometimes, in my struggle with singleness, I fall into sin. I begin to crave a relationship and demand that God give me one. Sometimes, I even hear myself speaking against God and doubting that He will really take good care of me in this area of my life. I do this at the very same time that my life is full. God has blessed me so much! Truly, He continues to give me all that I can hold on a daily basis.
God has sovereignly brought me into a profession that exhilarates my heart on a regular basis and affirms that He has gifted me with compassion and healing for the heart. He has invited me to build a house of prayer with members of my family and dear friends. God has blessed me with wonderful friends who make it safe for me to be myself, who encourage me when I’m struggling and challenge me to keep growing in my relationship with Him. He has given me health and joy in running, cooking, playing with our dog, listening to music, reading, writing, and in so many other areas of my life.
But, there are a lot of days where it’s hard for me to practice thankfulness for these things because I am still single. I feel ungrateful when I desire to be married because my life is SO blessed already. Why can’t I just be satisfied with what I have?! Why did the Israelites have to have meat when God was already leading them through the desert, feeding them with the food of angels and breaking open the very rocks to give them water?
I don’t think that their desire for meat or my desire to be married is sinful. I think that when we decide that something or someone other than God will satisfy us is what is sinful. And, if we think long enough about these desires, then they can become cravings. When we let these cravings go unchecked, we can start to say things about God that aren’t true, which begins the process of multiplying our sins.
Last night, I told my mom that I think God may not want me to be married because I can be more effective in ministry as a single person. I told her that I thought He was able to provide a husband for me, but that He might not be willing to do so. And, while this may prove to be true in the end, I think that it was based in sin rather than truth last night
The fact is that I made this statement out of a place of fatigue in waiting. My heart was hurting because I am waiting to see if my desire will be fulfilled and waiting is hard. I thought that maybe if I started making assumptions about why God is giving me the gift of singleness right now or how long this season may last, then I would feel better somehow. I didn’t. In fact, I felt worse. I had accused my best friend of intentionally withholding something that I want. I had accused God of not caring about me, the desires of my heart and the details of my life. And, what’s worse is that I did it in a really articulate way that made it sound holy and made it hard for my mom to refute what I was saying with the truth. I pretended to be open to whatever God desires to do in my life when I was really despising His gift of my singleness.
The truth is that God cares deeply for me. He wants me to believe Him when He says that He loves me and wants to take care of me. God is providing me with everything that I need today. He continues to give me all that I can hold because He wants to satisfy me. God wants me to know fullness of joy and He does everything possible to ensure that my joy is made complete in Him.
God may decide to keep me single forever. But, if He does that, then it would be His grace for me. And, I can be confident that He will give me great joy in that circumstance, even though I can’t understand it and don’t want to receive it right now. I think it is more likely that He will bless me with a husband since it’s a strong desire of my heart, but I can wait with Him and in Him, knowing that He really does care for me. I can trust Him when I’m tired and it’s hard and I just want to know what He is doing because I can’t see it and my imagination doesn’t work as well when I’m frustrated, impatient and scared. I can find joy as I celebrate the gifts that He has given me today even as I experience desire for gifts He hasn’t given yet.
Still counting gifts:
·         #501: Ava helping serve breakfast at Grounds for Life in her white, knit hat
·         #502: Moments of stillness today where I caught my breath, reconnected with God and felt refreshed
·         #503: Left-over ginger chicken made by my sister
·         #504: Finally finishing the book I was reading so that I can start the book I am so eager to read: Grace for the good girl: letting go of the try-hard life (I’m only one chapter in, but this could become the handbook to understanding me)
·         #505: When I was genuinely afraid to begin my last session because of how miserable last week was and I reached out to God as I washed dishes in the break room
·         #506: The way He took my hand in His and promised to be with me the whole time and how that was comforting in a very real way
·         #507: Arriving before 7 PM at R2HOP for once!
·         #508: Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:16-17
·         #509: How practicing thankfulness really does bring me joy

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