Sunday, November 13, 2005
MAYBE NOT YET
Or, " Lord, when can I have sex?"
WHY IT'S GOOD TO WAIT FOR MARRIAGE -
stories of women who married late in life.
1. Thelma - a woman now in her nineties. She originally married early, then became a Christian in her forties and her husband didn't share her beliefs or her passion for God. She had to spend a lot of time alone with God since her husband didn't share things such as a devotional life with her. He also inhibited her going to find other Christians. Her relationship with God grew, and she learned to be an intercessor, but it was lonely. Her husband died.
At 70, she met and married Herb Mjorud, an evangelist/healer whose wife had died. He more than shared her faith. He was a spiritual giant who brought her deeper into faith in God. The two of them worked side by side, touching people's lives with miracles as astounding as the reknowned evangelist Smith Wigglesworth, in America, but also in third world countries such as Sri Lanka.
Wigglesworth lived during the early 20th century and was, by God, a major cause of the amazing, miraculous events on Azusa street in Los Angeles at that time. He prayed for people with missing limbs and other extreme maladies. The limbs grew back: feet, legs, eyeballs, etc. He also was used by God to raise over twenty people from the dead. He did the works of Jesus, and Herb was the same, although almost completely unknown.
Thelma and Herb had warm, loving moments that they shared with others and Thelma's world was finally full of love.
Herb died seven years after they married and she now lives alone, though she has a renter, and continues in ministry. She has people over for counseling and has dreams of future ministry. Her desire for a soul mate was realized.
2. Irene Menke lived in my apartment building. At 94, having never married, she was the picture of contentment. She told me about her sister who didn't marry until she was 50, and had a happy, successful marriage.
Irene, the single one, talked about how much happiness she had living alone and enjoying God's presence. She found so much beauty in life.
She told me about her upbringing which was full of love, and it reminded me of what Gabrielle Brown said in her book about celibacy being possible with enough love in the early years(Don Juans and Donna Juans). Notice that her sister is part of a generation known for its stability and lifelong relationships. If it took her til 50, what about people today?
3. My grandmother. She married my grandfather early in life but he was a philanderer who started cheating only 5 years into the marriage, and they had 5 kids together. No wonder she divorced him.
She worked on her own for twenty years, making good, investing in stocks. At 70 she met the man of her dreams - a man I met and found to be very delightful. He was in the business of precious gems. He died after 15 years and she lived another ten. She had found her soul-mate.
4. Adina is a close friend of my sister's who married about the same time as my sister. Both were in their mid-twenties. i don't want to say anything, but she seemed to go out and find a guy just when she realized my sister was getting married. The guy said he wanted 5 kids, that he was a family man. He lied. They never had kids, and he ran away with another woman. He was a nightmare, leaving Adina with wounds.
She told my sister that she wondered if she should just date non-Christian guys since it didn't seem to make any difference. I kept praying for her. My sister just told me a few days ago that her friend remarried last spring at 53 years of age to a wonderful Christian man. He has kids from a previous marriage, and they have a good marriage.
5. Pauline and Gary. These are two people at my church (or one of my churches - I collect churches). Everyone at church says God positively put these two together. They are incredible - sitting next to each other, her head leaning on his, every Sunday. They turn to kiss each other all the time. You can tell they are besotted with one another.
He is deeply spiritual, trembling with God's spirit as he worships.
She got married years ago and says it was in order to have babies (like so many) and says that her husband was a nightmare. I don't know who left whom. She met and married Gary at 55, and he is 50 - never before married.
6. I have another friend I will call Glen. We met on my glorious tour of Europe in 1983. He was 22, I was 28. I was very attracted to him. I moved, after the trip, to the East coast to Philadelphia and he was a New York boy whose mom had moved them to New Jersey just outside NY city for the sake of sanity for the kids.
I visited him there before I returned to Minnesota, and later visited him there after I moved back to Minnesota. He was so much fun and our personalities clicked. But he was a New York boy and I was offended by his values. He lived life in the fast lane, liked "naughty" women and regarded me as just a friend. He was a good friend to a woman, though. I still enjoyed his company and when I was with him on the east coast, we went into New York and I got to see the funner side of New York because I felt safer with him. We had a nice dinner, saw a broadway play, we went to Greenwich village for coffee, and just to get goofy, we found a swingset in a park and rode swings like two little kids. He paid for everything, not because he was courting me or seducing me but just because he was doing well financially and was being a friend. Besides, I had spent plenty just to go to New York which was partly to see him!
Now, years later, he just moved from Long Beach in California, where he had moved years ago, to Phoenix. He is 44. He owned a coffee shop in Long Beach, and the hectic life of that part of California just got to him enough that he sought a smaller city. He sold his business and his house.
I was just in Phoenix and looked him up. We went out for dinner and talked. He is still incredibly good looking - an Italian. I suspected he still enjoys the admiration of young women, but oh my Lord. The maturity! He is so much more mature. Do you know how good this is? Do you know how good this looks on a guy? In some areas, maybe there is still some ripening needed, but in general...
Not only that, but those cute brown eyes I remember him having still twinkle, and again, surprisingly, I feel more attractive in his eyes than I did years ago - when I looked better. He has that maturity that suggests he is much better prepared to be in a committed relationship than he was years ago. Here is one of those cases where I can totally celebrate the years on a guy. Men - look forward to maturity along with your years, and strive to evolve as a man. It is wonderful!
7. I had a partime supplementary job working in a floral shop in a western suburb of Minneapolis. I was cleaning and preparing the flowers in a grocery store, and in walked a classmate from my last three years of highs school in Minneapolis. My parents had moved us from a small town in Minnesota to Minneapolis in my thirteenth year. I couldn't have hated the city worse. I so missed my friends and I had no confidence. At my high school, I clung to my best friend, a Chinese girl whose parents had moved from Hong Kong, and my goofy boyfriend who was strictly platonic (a common thing in the early 70's).
This girl who just walked in was one of the popular girls. Back then she had the confidence, the hard, cool edge that I was lacking. She had always seemed cold, distant and sophisticated. Here she was - older. She had a couple kids with her and we introduced ourselves. I said, "I know you from somewhere." She asked if I went to her high school. Sure, that was it.
She was honest with me. Her husband had left her with four children and she was raising them with the help of her parents. Here she was - the rich, white popular girl from high school, with dry, aged skin stretching across her face like a very old woman. I had to hold back my shock. She looked so old. She had obviously been through world war 3!
The events of her life had drained all the youth and life out of her. She was at last humble, which is good, but she was letting me know that her mistake in marrying this man, whoever he was, had cost her everything. She also shared that she had grown in her Catholic faith because of this, which is also good. But there is an example of what I'm talking about. Oh, I was thanking God after she left that I hadn't married WRONG!
If you feel that you are the type for marriage - that you need a sexual relationship, then you must let maturity have its perfect work in your life. The New Testament says "let patience have its perfect work" and I thought about this. Patience is an attitude that determines quality of life, and quality of one's interactions with others. Patience is a character quality that is greatly to be desired in a person. i used to think that it meant just being able to wait for something.
If you are in your twenties, or even thirties, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride! You could be in this (wait) a while. I'm 50 and only now ready for that kind of commitment.
In our day, maturity may take longer than ever. Irene's sister (Irene now with the Lord, by the way) shows how even the era we are in doesn't determine how long it will take. We need more than sex in marriage, and the things we need may take a while. Sure, you may be tempted beyond your control to have sex before marriage, and you can go ahead and have it, but you'll have to pay the price.
You may find yourself getting into something, bonding with someone and finding it hard to get out, or your heart will simply get more and more callous. Sex outside of God's plan is equated with violence in the bible. Continuously indulging sex outside of it will harden your heart towards people. You may not see that this is happening, so don't fool yourself. It's no wonder that the media that tries to desensitize us to sexual sin being sin, also tries to desensitize us to violence.
Marriage is not for finding love - you really need to already have love in order to be a partner! (contrary to popular thought)
One things is sure - if God hasn't joined you together with someone, it's probably going to be nothing but pain and heartache. Here is the perfect opportunity to begin talking about hearing God's voice. Without it - we are lost.
Luis Palau is an evangelist who speaks to many young people. I couldn't understand how a man of 70 could address the needs and concerns of teens and young adults - until I heard him speak. He has a timeless gift from God. He said - God has a mate for you, but if he doesn't, then you're better off without one. So true.
One reason I am ready for marriage is I know I'd rather be alone, but with God, than be with someone God didn't give me, who might try to take me away from the Lord.
Taking your time will make all the difference.
Look at me - only now ready to get married. Yes, I wish I'd been able to give my best sexuality, the drive I had when I was like a "raging bull", and the fertility of youth.
I didn't get married because I never found the right one. I could not marry wrong, partly because God didn't allow it. Now, at 50, having a child seems out of the picture, though I can adopt. But you may want to believe that for the one who makes the right choice, who doesn't rush into a wrong relationship in order to have a baby, that there will be this instant reward, and every good thing handed on a silver platter. Obviously not. No, there was much pain, and no instant rewards.
Making right choices is a reward in itself, though. And I have seen the hell of those who made the other choice.
There is no perfect answer since God meant for us to have sex early in life, like around 18, but man's mistakes and a fallen world have made this impossible for many. There's no easy answer - that's the first answer.
Here are some important tips for what to look for in a man, ladies:
1. He's got to have a sense of humor. For one, lack of humor is evil, as we cannot weather the storms of life without it.
2. He's got to love God and be hungry for God. of course, no guarantees he will always hunger for God, and that he won't end up distancing himself from God, but you have got to have a man who is going to help you go further in your relationship with God. I can't tell you how many women I have found who, bound by their "religious obligation" are permanently stuck with a man who resists God and the Holy Spirit so that his mate is not even allowed to go to places where Christian faith is alive, so she can feed her spirit. These women are starving and thirsting spiritually but have no help. Don't make that mistake. If you put anything before God - looks, sex, money, it will so bite you in the end. He said, "have no gods before me!"
3. He's got to be just imperfect, silly, boyish enough so that you don't take him too seriously. Do a reality check. If you have an idolatry problem and your idol is men and having a man - look out. Your god will become your devil. A man is a nice thing to have, but he is not a be-all, end-all in your life. Be whole, be complete, enjoy your life without a man. make that your aim!
4. He's got to be mature. Don't marry a child. Put him through some speculative tests to prove that he is a man. Too many women are raising boys, and men use women to avoid growing up. God can make a man into a true man. Just make sure that he has an authentic relationship with our Lord. You want a "son" of God, not just a pathetic get-into-heaven-by a-sliver kind of a guy. God disciplines his sons, be sure of that.
And I'm sitting here listening to my own advice.
We are so stupid in relationships. One TV special pointed this out. If we are looking for a school, we do research, we visit several schools, etc. etc. Looking for the right car, I did endless research and settled on a good hybrid . But when it comes to relationships, we fall into whatever comes our way, as if they don't matter. What is wrong with us? We should research our mates. Give them a full battery of tests! Take time, take a year! What could be more important?