Help in Grief

Sometimes grief overwhelms us. And sometimes grief lays quietly dormant until a small bit escapes the hidden parts of our heart. Other times it is a constant numbing in our minds. Whether it is grief over death, over a shattered dream, or over something that used to be a pleasing presence in our lives, grief is a part of all of us. And no matter what anyone says, grief doesn’t pass with time. Instead grief changes with time. It becomes less frequent, perhaps. Or less intense. But it never leaves us. As a counselor, I can tell you that this is perfectly normal. People often believe that there is some sort of “grief timetable.” That if they aren’t completely over their grief in a certain amount of time then they must not be healing. This is simply not true. If you are taking steps to move forward in your grief, then you are healing, no matter how long it takes.

For those who are grieving, know that I am with you. I get it. And it is ok. It is ok to cry. It is ok to ask why. It is ok to take your time. What is not ok is to get stuck. Sometimes we get stuck feeling sorry for ourselves and choose to live in that, wallowing in self-pity. Or we get stuck in refusing to process our grief. We think, yeah that happened and it really sucked but life goes on, and we shove it all down inside and pretend it doesn’t hurt. Getting stuck is the opposite of healing, and if you find yourself in that place I would encourage you to talk to someone about that. Think of grief as a deep wound. If you refuse to acknowledge that you are wounded, your wound will never heal. It will fester and become infected, and could be life-threatening. We need to acknowledge our grief and process it. If you are wondering how to do that, I’m not going into it here today, but I would love to talk to you about it and you can contact me about it using my info at the bottom of this post.

For those who are not currently grieving, but care about someone who is, you can help and I am going to tell you how to do that with some very simple do’s and dont’s.

  • Don’t offer a cliche saying. “Everything has a purpose,” or “God has a plan,” are completely true phrases, but are completely unhelpful when someone is in the middle of deep hurt and may not even feel like they trust God’s plan at the moment.
  • Don’t say nothing. That sounds weird. What I mean is, don’t leave the person hurting wondering if there is anyone who cares. While I ask that you don’t offer cliche platitudes, I would ask instead that you speak from the heart. It is 100% ok to say something like, “I don’t understand what you are going through, but I’m here for you if you need to talk.” Or “I care about you and I am so sorry you are going through this.” But only if you mean it.
  • Be there. Sometimes all a person in grief needs is for someone to say, “I’m here,” and then to actually be there. Show up. Show up at their house with a meal (without being asked to do so!), sit with them at a doctors appointment, whatever they may be needing. Most people in grief will not ask you to be there for them, but being there for them is exactly what they need. (Side note: many, many, kind people will say, “I’m here for you if you need something.” And that is such a huge gesture. However, a grieving person will often feel like a nuisance and will never actually ask you to be there or do something for them. So be there without being asked. It will go a long way.)
  • Remember them. When someone dies, people are always quick to be at the side of the grieving family. As time passes, life goes on…for everyone else. For the grieving, life does go on, but it also stands still for quite a while in so many ways. One month anniversaries, one year anniversaries, birthdays, Christmases, etc., without their loved one are hard. Give them a call or send a note letting them know that you haven’t forgotten their pain and are still there if they need you. The same goes for illnesses. An initial diagnosis is recognized, but with time, people forget. That’s just life. And it’s understandable. But you can minister to those who are grieving by taking a minute to remember that they haven’t forgotten.
  • Treat them like a person. Often when something “bad” happens to someone, we tiptoe around them. When someone dies, we don’t know when to start acting “normal” again. My advice, do it as soon as possible. Ask them how they are doing (and listen!), but also invite them to go out to a movie, ask them how their job is going, what their vacation plans are, etc. On the opposite end, we sometimes can’t seem to talk to them about anything other than their grief. They are still people. People with cancer are still people. They don’t want to talk about cancer constantly. They want to live their life and for you to acknowledge that they have a life outside of cancer. Don’t ignore what is happening, but don’t focus so much on it that you forget that what has happened is not their identity.
  • Listen. Sometimes people just need to talk. And they don’t need you to say anything. They just need to get it out. And you never know when that may happen. It may be 2 years later, and something brings up the grief in them, and they need to talk about it. Just listen.
  • Point them to God. Be careful not to offer the cliches I talked about in point one, and yet remind them that the ultimate counselor is the Lord. Psalm 34 or 147 are great passages to point them to as a reminder that God hears the broken-hearted. Encourage them to find a passage of Scripture that encourages them in this time and to memorize it so that when grief and doubt well up, they can remind themselves of truth.

For those grieving and those walking with the grieving, remember that Colossians 3 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience...And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Knowing we are loved changes us.

If you have questions about grief, how to get help for the grieving process, how to help someone in grief, or just need someone to talk to, please feel free contact me at sdavis@brookhills.org

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It’s Just Stuff

I recently sat down with Rachel and Jerrod from The Birmingham Christian Talk Show to talk about loss and hope. If you are walking through a tough time, or want to help someone who is, listen in.

Birmingham Christian Talk Show Episode 14- Stephanie Davis

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Waiting on the Lord

Psalm 106:12 & 13
“When they believed his words; they sang his praise. But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.”

God’s faithfulness causes us to praise him and take delight in him. When we see him working in our lives or in the world around us, it brings us great joy. There are been times when we can hardly stop smiling and telling people the amazing ways the Lord is moving. And then there are times when life is hard, and God is working in a painful way in our lives, and we can see it and we make the choice to praise him for continuing to work, no matter how painful it is.

But then there are other times. Times when we don’t at all see what God is doing. We don’t feel like he is doing anything. We wonder if he has forgotten us, or if he just doesn’t care about the circumstance we are in, or if we have somehow messed up his plan and are stuck. We spend time in the word, we pray, we go to church, but we just don’t see anything happening, good or bad. We question whether we have become invisible. So we wait.

Or do we?

Throughout the last 5 months, I have done a lot of waiting on the Lord. But it never fails that after waiting for something for a while, I eventually take matters into my own hands. I start to think that the Lord isn’t going to move, so I should move. Or I convince myself that he is waiting on me, so I should just take the first step and then he will do something. Or after waiting and praying for a while and still feeling the same, I just decide to make a decision to stop waiting and move on for crying out loud! (Logic, efficiency and decisiveness always win in my mind) I forget his works and stop waiting for his counsel, just like Israel.

And David says that when Israel forgot his works and stopped waiting on his counsel, God gave them what they wanted. So they wandered in the wilderness, where they were overcome with jealousy (v.16), hatred (v.24), faithlessness (v.24), sickness (v.29), and they eventually died.

Maybe this is what happens to us. Waiting on the Lord isn’t passive. Waiting requires a lot of action: Praying without ceasing, fueling our minds and hearts with his truth, and seeking counsel and accountability from those who are following Christ closely. But when we stop waiting on his counsel and start “taking action” on our own, what we end up doing is wandering in the wilderness.

To say that waiting is hard is an understatement. There have been so many times over the last few months that I have literally prayed, “Lord please DO something!” When he is probably saying “Stephanie, please STOP doing things and wait on my counsel.”

Is there something in your life right now where you have chosen to run ahead of God and take matters into your own hands? When I do that, I have to ask myself why. What is my motive? Is it because I am impatient? Is it because I have waited a long time and haven’t seen any result, so I assume I should take care of it myself? Is it because I think I know better than God? It is because I feel differently than I think I should? No matter what the reason, if I am taking matters into my own hands, what I am saying is “God, you aren’t working fast enough, or in the way I think you should. Let me help you.” How ridiculous.

But feelings drive so much of what we do. Sometimes, even if we see God moving, if we don’t feel good about it, we ignore it. And usually, this is because we have forgotten his works. Because when we look back over our lives, we can repeatedly see the ways God has been faithful. Yet, we choose to believe that this time he might not be. We forget the ways he has confirmed our calling when what he’s called us to do gets difficult. I am sad to say that there have been a number of times that God has clearly told me to do something, and when I get far enough into it that it becomes really tough, I start to question whether or not he really told me to do it. But looking back at his works will cause me to wait on his counsel.

I pray that we will stop moving without him. That we will wait patiently on the Lord. Hebrews says that after Abraham patiently waited, he received what was promised. God always keeps his promises. Will we remember that and choose to wait on him?

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Praying for What Hurts

In 2014 I took a class where the professor required us to do two things that I am terrible at: journaling and memorizing scripture. The class, I loved. The journaling, I hated. And I couldn’t wait for that part of the class to be done. But somewhere along the way, in the last 6 months, something he taught me stuck in my mind and I started journaling again. This time, I started journaling my prayers. I decided to read through the Psalms, and pray the Psalms in a prayer journal. And through this, the Lord has taught me so many things.

Shortly after I started the prayer journal, I started praying for an answer to something very specific. The Lord did not give me an answer. After more than a month of praying, and still having no answer, I came to Psalm 63. This was one of the passages of scripture my professor had us memorize months earlier. And over the last 8 months or so, it had come up repeatedly in my life at various times, and here is was again, saying:

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you.
My soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked on you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
When I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night.
For you have been my help and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you. Your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down to the depths of the Earth.
They shall be given over to the power of the sword and shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God, and all who swear by him shall exult,
For the mouths of liars will be stopped.

And over the last 8 months, the Lord has asked me repeatedly, “Do you long for me?” and “Is my steadfast love better than life to you?”

And over the last 8 months, I have said “Yes Lord.”

And then I entered the dry and weary land where there is no water, and I had to take a hard look at what I was really thirsting for.

Five weeks of praying, fasting, and asking the Lord to answer, and hearing nothing is frustrating. And the Lord kept saying, “Is my steadfast love better than life?” and I realized that my head, in my knowledge of God, was saying yes. But my heart, feeling left in the desert, was saying no. So I camped out in Psalm 63 for a while, changing my prayer. Instead of praying for an answer, I started praying that truly nothing would be better to me than the gospel. Not my desire for an answer to prayer, not my wants, not my security, not my life. I knew this had potential to be a prayer that hurt. One that would rip some of my selfish desires away, or put a painful end to my fight to be in control. But I wanted so much to behold the power and glory of the Lord, to know that his love is better than life, and to praise him.

That same week, I started having horrible night terrors again. For those who have never experienced PTSD or night terrors, I cannot describe the fear that these bring. But night after night, I would struggle to wake from a dream that felt very real, not sure of where I was or who was in my room, and feeling very nervous about going back to bed. After about 5 nights in a row of absolutely terrifying moments, I would start quoting part of this Psalm any time I would wake up. “My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed and meditate on you in the watches of the night. For you have been my help and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you. Your right hand upholds me.” I would say it repeatedly, believing it fervently, until my heart stopped racing and I felt at peace. I started changing my prayer again. Now, not only was I praying for nothing to be better to me than the gospel, but I also started praying that no matter what season the Lord had me in, I would continue to praise him joyfully. I have lived with the night terrors off and on for 10 years. I knew that they could be part of my life forever. I still wanted to know that his love is better than life to me and that he is worthy of my praise. Slowly, the night terrors have come to an almost complete stop.

During this time, the Lord also answered the prayer that I had started praying months before. And I started to feel like the dark night of my soul was coming to a close. I could see the ways the Lord had been so sweet to me during those few months. Comforting me with his word and answering my prayer, but also growing me more in prayer and in my love for time with him and trust in his faithfulness. I felt stronger, and more in awe of him.

Then the sickness started. Just one week later. And when the doctor said, “I found a small mass on your brain and I need you to see a specialist,” all of that came crashing down. And all of those things that people say in situations like this sounded so trite. “God’s got this,” or “He’s not surprised by this,” or “God will work it out for his glory,” made me want to scream. Of course God’s got this. But that doesn’t make it suck any less to think that my life could come to an end much sooner than I had hoped. I wasn’t ready for that yet! Three days after hearing that news, I was sitting in a classroom where the professor started the lesson by talking about one thing. The psalmist’s delight in the Lord in Psalm 63. And the Lord brought the past few months of prayers to my mind and said, “Is my steadfast love better than life? You prayed that it would be.”

A few days later, I sat down with my prayer journal, and I went back over the last 60 days of prayers. And I saw the ways the Lord had answered so many things. Prayers to increase my faith in him. Prayers to strip away self-reliance. Even prayers to have more opportunities to share him with others. He had done, and was continuing to do all of those things. I had to rely solely on him. In the darkness, he was still working. It is amazing that it sometimes takes the darkness to help us better understand the light.

The next few weeks, or months, or years of life, could be difficult. There will certainly be days where fear creeps in, or God feels far away, but I have seen him in his power and glory (he saved a wretch like me, after all!) and I know that his love truly is better than life. I will bless him as long as I live. I pray that this doesn’t leave me. That in good times, or bad, I will bless the Lord. That his love will be better than my very life. And that I will live in a way that shows that to be true. He IS better than life. I would rather die than live without his love. In fact, I WAS dead without his love. I was separated from him, and even though I was dead, he loved me so much he sent Jesus to die in my place in order to bring me to life in HIM. What more could I want? Earthly healing is nothing compared to the eternal healing where I will live forever with God in Heaven. Is his steadfast love better than life? My heart, truly, says yes.

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Pulling the Proverbial Tape Off my Mouth

I don’t want to talk about 50 Shades of Grey.

I really, really don’t.

Over the last 2 weeks I have read about 30 blog posts and articles on why the Christian shouldn’t watch this movie, why Christians shouldn’t be so hard on this movie, why women should not buy into it, why women should embrace it, why men should take their wives to see it and why men should take a stand against it. And, in all honesty, I am absolutely sick of all things 50 Shades.

So I am going to try not to make this a blog post about that.

What is this blog post going to be about? Sex. Specifically, what the commercialization of sex in our society leads to. Bear with me. I know some of you are probably sick of hearing about it too.

So here’s where I am on this. Today, I attended a forum on sex trafficking in America. And I listened to all the statistics that I have heard so many times before. And I realized how numb I am to the facts. So let’s restate them, because I know some of you are numb to them too.

-The U.S. State Department states that somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 women and children are being trafficked around the world each year. The large majority are female, and more than half are children.
-The average age of those entering the sex trade is 13 years old.
-Around 15,000 people are trafficked each year to the U.S. from other countries.
-Around 100,000 children are trafficked in the U.S. for sex every year.
-Around 300,000 women are trafficked in the U.S. for sex every year.
-In most states, the law does not protect those who are trafficked, (even if they are minors!), unless it can be proven that they have been coerced.

So how does this apply to us? I mean, it is not like we can personally go out and stop this billion dollar organized crime industry, right?

Wrong. An attorney at the forum today stated that the only reason this industry exists is because of the demand for sex. We have commercialized sex in every way possible. Whether it is as blatant as pornography, or as subtle as song lyrics by beautiful “role model” pop stars. Sex is what sells. Why does sex sell? Because we buy it.

Americans buy around $16.5 billion dollars worth of music each year. Last year, the movie industry made around $87 billion. Victoria’s Secret rakes in nearly $7 billion per year. We buy sex. In bulk. (Not to say all music or movies are bad, and I’m sure Victoria’s Secret has made for some happy marriages along the way, but I’m making a point here so go with me on this.)
And guess what, the porn industry makes between $10 and $14 billion annually. And how much does the sex trafficking industry bring in each year? Around $150 billion worldwide. One hundred and fifty billion dollars. To buy sex. So, what do we value? We can say we value other things, but our money trail tells us differently. As we will see this weekend, when 50 Shades of Grey will top the box office opening. Oops. I did it. I talked about 50 Shades of Grey. Dang it. Well, I’ve done it now so I might as well go on…

Trafficking starts, and stops, with the commercialization of sex. So when we commercialize a movie that is all about tricking a woman into a brutal sexual relationship, we are buying into all the other things that go with it. Including sex trafficking. You might be thinking, “But wait! I do NOT condone sex trafficking! I would never!”
But guess what? Pornography of all kinds is a huge supporter of sex trafficking. Yes, even “mommy porn.” So if you are watching pornography, of any kind, you are now a trafficker. And when you watch this movie you are supporting a billion dollar industry that supports a billion dollar industry that supports organized crime that brings in billions of dollars to support itself. (That’s a lot of billions in one sentence.)

We need to be thinking about this in everything we do. From the tv shows and movies we watch, to the music we listen to (I am SO guilty), the websites we use (did you know apps like Tinder are just one of the online sex traffickers?), the women we idolize, the videos we watch on our phone when we are alone, etc. We cannot continue to support the way Americans have acclimated to the commercialization of sex. But that is what we are doing. We say to ourselves, “Oh this song isn’t that bad.” or “It doesn’t hurt anyone if my spouse and I watch this sexy video within our home.” But it does. It contributes to the way we have become desensitized to sex in our families and in our country. Which contributes to the commercialization of sex. Which contributes to the demand for more and more of it. Which contributes to sex trafficking.

So, stop. Take a stand one person at a time. We can do something about this. We can choose not to allow sex to sell. And it starts small.

I was going to leave “religion” out of this, so that no one could say this is about religion. But I just can’t. So here it is.

Philippians says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Lay down your pride and your desires, and make a sacrifice. Don’t think about yourself and what you want. Think about what those hundreds of thousands of women and children want, which is to not be a slave to the desires of others. And think about your own children. Your sisters, mothers, wives, nieces, and friends. Would you be willing to lay down your desires for them? In order to prevent them from being trafficked? Then lay them down for our sisters all across the world.

I’ll go ahead and put that tape back on now.

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Where Is My Concern?

I’ve been thinking and reading a lot about suffering lately. Not because I am plagued with suffering (Although sometimes I start to wallow in self-pity and think that I am suffering dramatically, Lord help me). But I am currently watching the suffering (whether real or imagined) of many people around me, and it seems like God keeps bringing this before me in scripture, in sermons I listen to, in books I read, etc.

Our church is reading through the Bible together this year, using a Bible reading plan where you read a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from the New Testament each day (You can check out that reading plan by clicking here). After reading Genesis 4 the other day, there was something that kept sparking my curiosity. You know the story in Genesis 4. Cain kills his brother Abel and then tries to get out of it when God asks about Abel. But, of course, God already knows what happened, so he calls Cain out and punishes him. At this point, Cain starts this speech saying, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, you have driven me away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” And when I read this the other day I started to wonder if Cain was saying this as a complaint against his punishment or if he was saying it out of repentance. So, I did what any good seminary student would do, and opened up Matthew Henry’s commentary.

I know you are thinking, “What does any of this have to do with suffering?” But bear with me, sometimes you just need a little backstory. SO…Matthew Henry says this about Cain’s speech, “What he says is a reproach and affront to the justice of God, and a complaint, not of the greatness of his sin, but of the extremity of his punishment, as if this were disproportionable to his merits. Instead of justifying God in the sentence, he condemns him, not accepting the punishment of his iniquity, but quarreling with it.”

Then he has a note. A note that might as well have jumped right off the page and punched me in the gut with a fist like Dwayne Johnson. The note says, “Impenitent unhumbled hearts are therefore not reclaimed by God’s rebukes because they think themselves wronged by them; and it is an evidence of great hardness to be more concerned about our sufferings than about our sins.”

Ouch.

I mean, think about it. Romans 3:23 says, “The wages of sin is death.” What should I get in return for my sin? Death! But God doesn’t deal with me that severely. (He actually is pretty kind to me, since I’m not dead and he since sent Someone to die in my place.) But am I more concerned about my suffering than my sin? Well…yeah. Most of the time. Crap.

We all have moments of suffering. Some of us are in one right now. And not all of our suffering is a direct result of sin in our lives (Don’t misunderstand me, some most definitely IS.), but all suffering is a result of sin. It may be someone else’s sin is causing us suffering. It may just be suffering because darned old Adam and Eve brought sin into the world, causing us not to have perfect, healthy bodies, and right relationships anymore. But, is my suffering what I am concerned about, or is it my sin? We are too often hardened in our hearts and immediately jump to the woe is me portion. We try to control our suffering, and do everything in our power to get it out of our lives. This is one definition of letting suffering concern me. Other times, we let suffering consume us and just lay around in it feeling sorry for ourselves. This is another definition of letting suffering concern me.

What I should be concerned with is my heart. Since everything in life is a heart issue (Good grief I’m turning into my dad.), I should be looking at “Where is my heart?” And this has been all over me for about a month now, because I have realized that my reaction to my suffering is showing exactly where my heart is. Because when someone upsets me, I don’t look immediately at myself and say “Why does this upset me? Is it because I am not loving them well? Is it because I am selfish? Etc?” Instead I get upset at them. Now I know dang well this is not going to change quickly or easily, or permanently, and then magically I will always react well and have a better attitude (Wouldn’t that be great!? But then I wouldn’t need Jesus. So that actually wouldn’t be great at all…nevermind). BUT, the fact that it even comes to my mind now, shows that God is working. I want so badly to be concerned with sin in my own life and to root those things out. So, what stops me? There is only one thing. My concern for my suffering. Letting myself wallow, or trying to work my way out of it. That’s it.

Sigh.

Thank God he has not given up on me yet. Even though I deserve death. Man, do I deserve death.

I don’t want to be Cain. He sounds like a whiny baby who can’t take responsibility for his actions. Is that me?

Crap.

I pray that this year God show us where our concern lies. And we will actually do something about it this time.

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Few and Far Between

Over the past month or so, my pastor has been calling out the men in our church pretty hard. And this is something that needs to be done around our nation, as many men (and women!) who call themselves followers of Christ are not leading, serving or showing the example of Christ to their families or to the world. But, at the same time, over the past month, I have been seeing the men around me more clearly. And have learned what true manhood looks like more and more as we walk through what the word of God says about this.

You see, I have a father who was an incredible example of God’s love to me. I know without any doubt I would not be who I am in Christ today without this. My dad is an amazing representation of my heavenly father. And for this I am thankful. Because I know so many men and women who did not have a father, or who had a father who fell extremely short of the example God intended. I also have men in my life who have looked after me as a little sister in Christ. Men like Scot Shaffer, who are running after God’s will and who pray for, encourage and advise me in my journey. I am surrounded by co-workers who I see truly pursuing Christ and who are pouring their lives into other men, hoping to lead them to walk in biblical truth and be the men God intended them to be. For this, I am incredibly thankful, and can see the difference it is making in individual lives. I’m so very grateful also for some single guy friends here who I am watching wrestle with God and come out stronger. Who are submitting to the authority of God and the accountability of each other, and who want nothing more than to do God’s will.

The hard thing is that so many single women have not met many men like this. I can say that in my life, I have met few. And there are some great guys I have met. Nice, church-going guys, who are family oriented. But not guys who are pursuing Christ above all and want nothing more than to point their family to Truth and Love. And so we are jaded to what real manhood is. Or we think that the best guy we know is the best it ever gets, so we better grab him while we can. And then live the next 60 years of our lives wishing for something more.

I hope that the men in my life, and in my girlfriends lives who are chasing God will speak truth into their lives and will guide them and protect them, and stop them from getting into relationships they shouldn’t. I know without doubt there are men in my life who do that, praise God! And I pray that the girls I know will stop trying to soften the blow for men in their lives. God’s words are hard. They need to be hard. To pierce you in between your joints and marrow (Hebrews 4:12) and to change you and grow you up. If you don’t want that to happen, it’s time to look at your heart and determine if you are really a follower of Christ, or just someone who wants to add Jesus to their life when they feel like it.

And women have to step up too. What if God’s plan for you is to never be married? Are you going to spend 80 years pursuing a marriage? Or are you going to spend your life pursuing Christ and finding your identity in him? Stop trying to find your value in a man and learn who you are and what you want before you ever even consider getting into a relationship. He will never be everything you need. Never. And in addition, spur the men in your life (brothers, friends, co-workers) on to Christ. So that those amazing men that we meet so few of might increase in number.

We all have a responsibility. Search the heart. Get rid of sin. Seek Christ first. Listen to wise teaching. Encourage and love.
Let’s get on it.

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