Friday, June 26, 2015

Book Review: "Who Has Your Heart?"


 Who Has Your Heart? was written for single women on how to practically live a godly life, using the story of Jephtha's daughter in Judges 11. Jephtha vows to God that the first thing to come out of his house when he returns from war will be given to God as a burnt sacrifice. Sadly, the first to greet him is his daughter. Taking the point of view that Jephtha's daughter's sacrifice is figurative (remaining a virgin her entire life) and she was not literally killed, Emily Ryan uses this young woman's journey as an example for how single women should live their life.

What I Liked

  I loved Emily Ryan's honesty. I loved how she describes the story of Ruth in the Bible. "...Not to sound bitter, but I haven't even had one chance at love and marriage, and this lady gets two!" (29). Because though Ruth has a beautiful story that points us to Christ, our kinsman redeemer, I have often felt the same way. Also, I loved her honesty in the personal story she shared about her sister marrying before her.

 Finally, I loved her conversational writing style. I felt like she was an older sister talking to me, sharing her story, and trying to help me with mine. Not preachy, but loving. Not judging, but accepting.

What I Didn't Like

 Emily Ryan says in her book that as a single woman, she was looking for a role model in the Bible, but everyone was married, except Jephtha's daughter, so she became Emily Ryan's inspiration. But my question is what about Jesus? Isn't Jesus our standard, our perfect example, and our Savior? Why did she pick Jephtha's daughter who is mentioned in only one chapter of Judges when she could have picked Jesus, the theme of the entire Bible? I understand the desire for a female Biblical role model, which is probably the reason why Emily Ryan chose Jephtha's daughter, but Jesus made us and died for us. I think He is more than capable of understanding women. Jesus also remained single for his entire life, making Him in my mind the perfect role model for a single woman and anything else in my life I will face.

  Also, the book goes through Jephtha's daughter's story, each verse and aspect of her character how single women should live their lives. I agree with the principles Emily Ryan is teaching and did learn from them, but felt that it was a huge stretch relating it so closely to Jephtha's daughter's story. For example, the Bible says in Judges 11:34, "Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah. And behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and dances" (ESV). Emily Ryan notes that "Jephtha's daughter knew her identity. She was a tambourine player. And because she knew who she was, she also knew what she was to do" (50). This is referring to the fact that as Jephtha's daughter was a tambourine player and therefore played the tambourine, we need to know who we are (single) and know what we are supposed to do instead of chasing after things that are not ours to do. It was a good lesson, but one that was lost on me because of the somewhat corny message taken from one verse in the Bible that may or may not have been its purpose.


 In conclusion, Who Has Your Heart? was a good read and not a bad or un-biblical book. I have no regrets reading it and was encouraged to know that my thoughts are not that different from other single girls. But I would recommend choosing another book about singleness if that is a topic you are searching for. There are many other books about singleness that I have found to be more worth my time that I hope to share with you in the future! 


P.S. This post was originally featured on my personal blog The Truth in Sea Glass if you would like to visit me there.

P.P.S. I am now on Pinterest, as well!

Friday, June 19, 2015

The Joy of Singleness: Focusing on Others

  I want to be a person that finds joy in every circumstance, who praises God for what He has blessed me with instead of complaining about what He hasn't given me. To help with this, I want to have regular posts about the joys of singleness, to remind me, to remind you, that God has given us abundance through accepting Him and His death on the cross. So here is the first joy I have found in singleness.

 I have been trying to think of what my first joy of singleness could be. It's not that I don't have any. I have read so many good books and articles from Christian leaders, pastors, and women who have traveled this journey before me that have given me plenty of ideas. But I wanted it to be personal- something I am going through right now. I have struggled for a while, but only yesterday realized that it had been right in front of me this whole time.
 I was making cards, yesterday. One, with the ice cream cones, just a little thank you to a sweet lady in my church, and the other a congratulations to my friend who just got engaged. I was cutting and creating and thinking about what a small blessing this could be in their lives, I know getting sweet notes from friends is a blessing to me. And that made me think of something my sister did for me.

 A while ago I was filling out a form and suddenly my sister wrapped her arms around me.

 "Hey, I'm writing," I said.

 "I know. I just thought I would help you fill your need for touch."

 She knew what I needed and sought to meet that need. Which made me wonder then and yesterday as I was making cards, What do my family and friends need and I can I fill that need? 
 Right now, my parents need help washing dishes and making dinner.

 Right now, I have two friends going through hard times that need prayer.

 Right now, the young high schooler in my summer class needs a kind smile.

 Right now, I am in the perfect position to help them.

 I realized that I have so much time to invest in other people. I have time to spend a whole afternoon with a dear friend I haven't seen in a while. I have time to figure out what my mother needs and help her. I was able to go downtown with a friend for a spur of the moment trip.

 Yes, it is awkward being a part of my family again but being distant and separate at the same time. It is strange being a third wheel with married or dating friends, And I would be lying if I said I enjoyed floating from place to place and never feeling like I belong anywhere and not having one person to devote my life to. But maybe the world needs floaters. Maybe God wants to use my floating to reach out to others.

 Maybe it is as simple as making a card for my friend who got engaged. Maybe it is as hard as sharing the gospel with the guy on the plane hitting on me. Whether hard or easy, it is glorifying God by loving others the way Jesus loves me.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Why I Am Waiting


 I have heard so many opinions on the “singles not waiting” topic, including those who have decided they are not waiting in the sense that they are not going to be like Rapunzel quietly waiting for a prince to rescue her. They have a life to live and if God decides to bless them with marriage along the way then fabulous.

 I joined them for a little while. I wasn’t going to waste my singleness simply wishing to not be single. I wasn’t going to think of myself as incomplete because I have been made complete in Christ.

 While I never stopped believing that, there was something wrong, something missing, some reason I couldn’t fully embrace that way of thinking. And it was this: I will never stop waiting.

 I will never stop wishing for a husband, longing for marriage, hoping for a family, wanting one person to love me as long as we lived. And with the wishing, longing, hoping, and wanting comes waiting. Waiting for it to happen. That is the way God made me.

 So I am still waiting. I still hope. I still want. I am always longing.

 Yes, this longing reflects the longing to be reunited with Jesus in Heaven. It is my ultimate longing that will someday be met when I die and look upon my Savior.

 But here on earth I still long for a husband and probably always will.

 So for me the real question is what do I do while I wait, whether that means marriage in Heaven and on earth, or only Heaven?

 1) Trust
   I need to remember that God has a plan for me. Maybe it includes marriage and a family someday, but even if it doesn’t I know I will someday be with Him for all of eternity. Whatever the details of that plan are, I need to trust that He knows what is best as the one who gave me life.

 2) Prepare
  I need to prepare for when I am presented as the bride of Christ—I need to grow in understanding His Word, in sharing my faith, in obedience, humility, love, and joy. I also need to prepare for a possible earthly marriage. Not only will I need become more like Christ, I need to be prepared to maintain a home, cook meals, and take care of children. I need to practice communicating well with others, forgiving, sharing, and sacrificially loving.

 3) Pray
  I pray for a husband, that God will someday give one to me. I pray for patience. I pray that if I am never to marry He will sustain me. Though it is hard, I pray for His will to be done. I pray that ultimately I will be satisfied in Him alone.

5) Follow
    I need to continue glorifying God by doing the tasks he has set for me on earth. Though they change, right now that means school, working, relationships with family and friends, and sharing the gospel.

 While I wait I will not pine away in a tower or remain idle, but I will also not pretend that this isn’t what my heart wants.

 I pray we will be good stewards of this sacred time God has given us and that our longings will make us look to Him.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

When No One Touches Me

 It was a class field trip for a religion class my freshman year of college. My classmates and I were walking around Buddhist shrines when this guy suddenly said something and put his hand on me.
 I can’t remember what he said to me. All I remember is that as he was speaking there was a very strong but quiet whimper inside of me saying, “Please let go.”
When he touched me, I realized something about myself that I had never known. I liked his touch. I liked it too much. And he had only touched my shoulder.
 Fast forward to a month ago. I was catching up with one of my guy friends I hadn’t seen in months. For some reason he touched me. Not inappropriately, just a friendly touch. Maybe it showed on my face because then he chivalrously asked me if that was okay.
 I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I told him the truth. “It’s fine,” I said. “I just usually avoid touching the opposite gender in any way because I like it a little too much.”
 As you have probably guessed, physical touch is very important to me. It is my second highest love language only behind quality time simply because physical touch can be quality time.
 It is the hardest part about living away from home, away from my family who will hug me every day. It is the hardest part about being single.
 There were times I didn’t know what to do. God had given me the desire for physical touch and it was good, but it was something he was withholding from me. I longed for a guy’s strong arms around me, a hug from a friend, or the tight grip of a child holding my hand. But none of this was mine. How could this be part of God’s good plan for me?
 Second Corinthians 12:9 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” My weakness, my need for physical touch, is what God is currently using to bring me to Himself, and how much more satisfying is my Savior?
 I remember one night at school crying in my bed without knowing why. Nothing bad had happened that day. I wasn’t pmsing. And then I realized, no one touched me, today.
 But then as I cried harder I began a plea, a prayer saying, “Jesus, please hold me.”
 My lack of physical touch brings me to Jesus. My need brings me to Him on my knees desperate for His touch. And that is why it is good.