Not Unredeemed

… living the beautiful tension between what is, and what will be …

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What’s Better?

Can you know Jesus more when you are single or married?

I sat in silence for a long time over that question. However I answered would take the conversation into so many different areas. We could argue over Paul’s writings and wether or not it was better to be single or married, we could dive into Jesus’s set apart life, or maybe the examples of marriage and Christ’s love of the church. None  of these addressed the heart of the question though – knowing Jesus.

It was a rare night in the Discipleship House, all five of the D House girls were  hanging out in the living room with me and none of the guys were around or home. Relationship questions abounded and stories were shared as the night grew late. 

I was familiar with the question she posed to me: Can you know Jesus more when you are single or married? I’d wrestled over it for years myself. In my mind I always thought that knowing Jesus better single or married was an either/or thing. One of them must be a better way to know Jesus than the other.

Questions like those below dug deeply into my soul:know Him more

If I never get married will Jesus be enough for me?”

If I  get married, I’ll get to experience more of the Lord’s love cause that’s an example of how Christ loves the Church, right?”

“But then if I do get married won’t that mean that I won’t be able to serve the Lord as well?

Perhaps it is not a matter of knowing the Lord better in “either/or”  (either single or married) but instead a matter of greater importance to know Him in “both/and” (both single and married). Asking questions and wrestling in our souls is a beautiful thing, but we are asking the wrong kind of questions. The question isn’t which season of life can I know the Lord better in, but how can I know Him in the season that I am in now?

Each story is beautiful, individual, song. The Lord will call to each of us to walk different seasons at different times, but the resounding bass in each call will be the same – to know Him. The melody will look different, but there will be a steady beat that does not change in your song. Him. 

A dear friend of mine married young and just celebrated her 10th anniversary. Her husband provided her with a safe home and a loving environment that freed her to begin to know the Lord’s love in a deeper way through her marriage. For me, the past decade of mostly going it alone has drawn me to the Lord’s love in a deeper way than anything I could have imagined.

Had I married young, I wonder if I would know the Lord in the way that I do now?  Would I have been too tempted to put my husband in the place in my heart the Lord should be? I don’t know. It’s not my story to know. Singleness has been one of the most refining fires in my life, but my married friends will say the same about their marriages. I’ve also tasted enough in a serious relationship or two to know that those relationships brought me to the throne just as much as my singleness did.

 In DeepIt’s so easy to get caught up in comparing apples to oranges that we miss the bigger picture: its all fruit. And it’s all about knowing Jesus. Whether you are single, married, divorced, widowed, engaged, a parent, or childless – through EVERY season, Jesus wants to be enough for you. Marriage and relationships have their struggles, their loneliness and their happiness too. And they are different, but Jesus isn’t an either/or. He is in BOTH singleness AND marriage.  I can’t tell you what’s better, but I can tell you that you are loved right where you are, and that He longs to know you and for you to know Him. And what I can also tell you is my story. Tomorrow. 🙂 Check back tomorrow for part 2.


“What’s Better” is Day #13 of “In Deep” a 31 Day’s Series


Marriage – Not Your Savior

A beautiful guest post by Nichole from “A Readers Rumination. Nichole is a mom of two, a passionate Jesus lover, friend, and former co host of the She Says Podcasts. Enjoy! 

“How are you doing?” my neighbor asked.

I burst into tears.

I had been married for a little over three years, but I was lonelier than I had ever felt in my life. My husband and I married shortly after I graduated from college. We had the textbook “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” courtship (not without it’s bumps and bruises-after all, most of it was a long distance relationship) complete with sharing our first ‘I love you’ and first kiss after he proposed. After we married, we moved a couple hours away from family, both started new jobs and bought a house. Our daughter was born a few weeks before our second wedding anniversary. I quit working shortly before that to stay home and care for her.

A few weeks before my meltdown outside my neighbors’ driveway, my husband had decided to try out for a role in a Christmas musical. He ended up landing quite a few roles and was gone most weeknights for practices. The show also traveled to different venues much of November and December, meaning he was also gone for many weekends. I had the option of Marriage, not your Saviortraveling with the cast, but I chose to stay home with our daughter.

I felt lonely, isolated from friends and family “back home” that I had know for years, and I was quite a bit resentful that I was “sacrificing” so much for my husband during this busy season in his life. I knew marriage wasn’t supposed to be an endless slumber party, complete with hot chocolate and heart-to-heart talks every night, but my husband was gone pursuing one of his dreams and making new friends in the process. I was a bit envious.

In the midst of my tears, my neighbor hugged me and graciously invited me over for dinner a few times while my husband was away on the show circuit. I’m thankful for that and the many other graces God gave me during that season of our life. Looking back, I can see now how God used the loneliness and bitterness I felt during that season to expose my selfish presupposition that marriage should fulfill all my longings for friendship and relationship without the hard and awkward work of making new friends in a new town.

I still have much to learn now, but more and more God is showing me how my identity is not wholly defined as “wife”. In fact, He often uses this identifier in my life to point out the many ways my heart is selfish and sinful. Being married has not fulfilled me in the many ways I had expected as a young bride. I still feel lonely and misunderstood sometimes, and like any close relationship often it is the people we live with that can hurt us (intentionally or unintentionally) the most. Marriage brings much joy, but also much pain into life as two sinners attempt to live with one another!

In the midst of every happy and sad season, it is imperative to look to Jesus as the one who understands you, completes you and defines you. Doing that puts the pressure off of your husband (or future husband) in the relationship to be everything to you, and you both can ground your identities and activities together in a way that glorifies Christ.

My husband is involved in the Christmas musical again this year. I have a four year old and a two year old to care for now while he is away most weeknights. Even though the cast is not traveling this year I know that this has the potential to be a busy, yet lonely season for me. What’s different now?

1. My perspective has changed. I see my husband’s time away as him using his talents of singing, dancing and acting to advance the kingdom of God and glorify Him. That helps me to have a happier heart while I care for my kids solo, and I find so much joy in my heart when I get to see him on stage and experience the finished production (I mean, hello, my husband is a triple threat. Proud stage wife right here!)

2. I am more intentional in my time spent with Jesus, asking Him to remind me of who I am. Jesus loves to remind us that we are His and that He has a plan for our lives. For some of us, that includes the roles of wife and mother, but do not think of yourself as lesser in God’s kingdom if He does not grant those desires in your life. As hard as that can feel, remind yourself that God can (and will) love you more perfectly than any husband could and that His plans for you will bring Him the most glory.

3. Speaking of a plan, I am also trying to be more obedient to the ways God wants me to advance the kingdom.It’s true that a husband and wife can work together to glorify God, but don’t discount the gifts He’s already given you as an individual. For me, that means writing more, singing more, taking more time in contemplative and intercessory prayer and reading books that spur my heart towards a greater affection for Jesus. I do my best to get together with friends (yes, I have friends now!) that encourage me and refresh my spirit. I am also in the process of starting a master’s certificate program, and I know my husband will be making sacrifices to help me (dishes, anyone?) as I embark on this new venture.

I’d encourage you to take those three steps in your life if you feel marriage is becoming an idol in your heart. Marriage is not your Savior. Honestly, it can be like a crucible at times. God may or may not bring it into your life not to make you ultimately happy, but if you trust Him He will make you holy. If we let Jesus meet us, define us and direct us, whether we are single or married, we can know we are being the best wife, friend, daughter, church member, etc. He has meant us to be.

That, my friends, is eternal.
– Nichole

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Alive and Fully Engaged: Facing the Trials of Marriage from the Limbo of “Engagement”

A guest post by a dear friend and writer, Lindsay Debach. Enjoy!

This post is in response to our friend Katie’s challenge from the October 6th Post, entitled “Single Vision”, about embracing your life now, as a single person, being the best you can be.

But I’d like to offer a bit different perspective…I am engaged and I liked being single.

So I’m walking the aisle of limbo gazing at the not-so-distant shores of matrimony with dread, while the life of singleness I left behind looks pretty sweet. Instead of, as Katie mentioned in her Single Vision post, thinking “will I ever get married?” I’m asking “What if marriage is really, really bad?”

My parents aren’t divorced, but I have seen some bad marriages go down. I’ve read the books, listened to the sermons…and yeah-what I’m gathering is that: “it ain’t no picnic.”

-You’ve got to share your time, your money, your emotions, your energy.

– You’ve got to be vulnerable, with your feelings, your body, your weaknesses.

– You’ve got to sacrifice (a deplorable concept in a consumer-driven culture) your plans, your space, your time.

THIS DOESN’T SOUND VERY FUN TO ME! Especially after having lived as a single person just shy of 30 years. Yeah, you get lonely, but there are friends, family, and self-discovery.

As my wedding draws closer I’m learning that my fears are largely due to my perfectionism. A fear of “messing up.” I’m convicted by the admonishment of Oswald Chambers:

“Beware of the piety that has no prep-supposition in the atonement of the Lord. It’s of no use for anything but the sequestered life.”

When you’re single, you can live that “pious” life when you go home at night. No one to share with, to have to listen to and be patient with, to get annoyed at. Not to mention what you have to sacrifice.

In essence, you can be “confident in the flesh” (Phil 3:3) that is your own saintly behavior.

But then…we wouldn’t need a Savior.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
 2 Corinthians 5:21

The applying of the grace that Christ showed to us at the cross through daily sanctification is the model
for Christian marriage. Spouses will mess up, they will lose their patience, be unforgiving, say what they shouldn’t. But each instance is an opportunity for Christ’s grace to intercede. Through learning to love and share our lives with another, we have an opportunity to become more like Christ by seeing His redeeming work in how we love our spouse. Even in the bad times.

In his book When Sinners Say I do, Lee Harvey says that marriage: “requires daily grace, daily repentance, daily pursuit of each other and of the Father.”

A tall order, but isn’t that what every Christian should be pursuing anyway?
 That’s the kingdom of heaven played out right in the messy, over-tired, rainy day normality’s of life. It looks different whether or married or single, but the bottom line is that we should be pursuing the Father, no matter the circumstances.

Single, married, engaged, whatever…we’re all sinners and all saved by Christ’s grace. The illumination that marriage gives of Lindsay QuoteChrist’s redemption is one that I’d like to apply to my life as a single person. Not dreading the inevitable storms of marriage, but taking joy from the fact that the same redemption I’ll receiving in marriage is what I’m receiving now! When I mess up, when I’m not good enough, when I’ve been let down and have let others down.

So as a single person who is “fully engaged” (pardon the terrible pun), I’d like to use this time in the middle to appreciate Christ’s grace to me. I will mess up, but I stand on the rock that is my salvation…even though it might look like the aisle of limbo.

Lindsay lives life with gusto, and is passionate about theology, family, and culture. It was an honor to have her guest post today!

“Alive and Fully Engaged” is a part of the “Today’s The Day: Being Single and Fully Alive” a 31 Days Series. To read more from this series please click here.

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Learning to Rejoice

 Did you know that one of the facets of grace is joy? I didn’t. This year I prayed I would understand grace – in all of its forms and this weekend I discovered a side to grace I never would have imagined.

One of my dearest friends said “I do” this weekend. The change to our friendship was hard for me as we were nearly inseparable for 3 years. This wedding thing was supposed to be one more thing we did together. Not one before the other. Loneliness has a new meaning for me, but so has grace!

I prayed God would change my heart – I’ve learned to weep with those who weep – now to learn to truly rejoice with those who rejoice. No matter the cost. She a is friend worth fighting for. Worth finding new and different ways for our friendship to flex and change as her groom rightfully took the center stage in her life and I do -si-do(ed) to the side.

It’s not been easy nor will it be – but it has been worth it.  A word to my single friends – fight to grow with your married friends. It takes work but the friendship can survive the change if you are willing to let it change. Accept and embrace it for what it can be. And it takes grace. Lots of grace!

 Grace is learning to let go of expectations while still hoping and loving. Being fully engaged as much as possible in their lives while still releasing them to grow and change as they need to – are called to! Engagement and marriage is the season as a friend when we need to love more. Not less. In the hurt that comes with change, we want to love less, not more. Love isn’t 50/50 or even 100/100. It’s 100 period. Emotions run high, but they level out. And grace is there for the asking and the taking. Continue reading