Friday, June 17, 2011

When Prince Charming Has Yet to Arrive

Do you desire to marry? Is your dream to be swept off your feet and to one day be a husband/father or wife/mother?
If so, why? Is it because you believe it will make you happy? To know pleasure in the pure context of marriage?

God has been confronting me with these questions lately. As some of you may know I've made the decision to not date, but this does not mean I do not think/dream about marriage and having my own children one day, like many young people.
I am still learning to treasure and to take advantage of my single years. It can be a challenge in our day and time, as most any single person will tell you. One reason being that in the eyes of many, being single equals rejection by the opposite sex. In many people's eyes, if you don't have that special girl, or a guy who adores you, you pretty much have no identity. Through these years God is teaching me to find satisfaction and to place my identity in Him alone; to rely on Him for fulfillment, acceptance and joy. I find myself marveling at His wisdom as I realize how incredibly wise He really is. Because truly, without these single years to teach me to focus and to rely on Him, I would enter marriage with the expectation that my husband would bring me true happiness, fulfillment, and unfailing love and devotion. In reality, only God can fill the void in your heart, only He can bring you true fulfillment, full satisfaction and unwavering devotion. Yes, a marriage/a spouse is a wonderful gift, and they bring much pleasure I am sure, but only God can truly satisfy.

So I feel like God is asking me, and perhaps you-- "Why do you desire to marry? Why do you ask Me for a spouse?" Not because He doesn't know -oh He knows us better than we know ourselves- but because He wants us to examine ourselves- our motives and desires. Last night I read this verse in James: "And even when you ask, you don't get it because your motives are all wrong--you want only what will give you pleasure."
Is that your goal in marriage? Pleasure? Or is it to glorify Him, to better serve Him?

Psalms 37:4 says "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires." He wants to give us our heart's desires, but first we must learn to delight in Him, to put Him first and to have Him as our focus and to gain pleasure and satisfaction in Him. He is the only one who can truly and fully satisfy. No other can satisfy like He does!

 At times it seems He withholds from us the things we desire. Why? Because He loves us and knows what's best for us. He knows that if we go into marriage with false expectations, not only will we be disappointed, but there will be marital issues because we will be placing expectations on our spouse which he/she can not meet. They were not meant to fill the void in our hearts, God is. He needs to be number one, the focus of every relationship. Marriage is meant to glorify God and to testify of God's goodness. It is a picture which speaks of His even greater plans to one day be joined with His bride "happily ever after." The marriage commitment is a lifelong one, and it is a commitment to selfless living. It is not to be taken lightly!
And if it seems like God is taking a long time in summoning prince charming to the scene (or the princess bride, for any guys who may read this), I encourage you to be patient, rest in the knowledge of His goodness, His love, and His perfect timing. Don't give in to the pressures of this world and settle for something less than God's best!

And again, take advantage of this time of singleness! As Paul says in 1 Corinthians, "But a married man has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be devoted to the Lord and holy in body and spirit." Take advantage of the single years to "serve the Lord without distraction." Learn to trust God now, it will better prepare you for trials later on.
As someone once said, "Our greatest need is for a Savior-- God met that need, why should we not trust Him with the lesser need of providing a spouse?"

I hope you were challenged, encouraged and blessed in reading this-- may God give you not only the patience to wait, but joy and gladness in serving Him as you do!

Sincerely, your sister in the Lord,

                               Victoria Christine Bullock 


Saturday, June 4, 2011

~For Girls~

You are beautiful. You are valuable, and you are loved. Do you believe that?
I thought I believed that of myself, but up until recently, I'm not so sure I did.

I'd like to share about an experience I had while on my latest trip to New Mexico.

Note: Though I do believe the Church is not a building but the body of Christ, for the sake of my own sanity and due to my current impatience in relation to the subject, all uses of the word "Church" in this post will be in reference to a building which has been utilized for the gathering of believers.

 It was on a Sunday afternoon. Just hours before this moment in time, I'd dragged myself out of bed and prepared to attend a service at one of the local Navajo Churches. I made the mistake of not  checking the weather before deciding what to wear to the service. I wore a dress (a rare occurrence), and it was -as it often is in this part of New Mexico- windy. It was a struggle to keep my dress from flying up into my face as I clutched my bible and a few belongings in one hand and held my dress down with the other and hurriedly made my way to the van which would then carry me and some others to the Church where the service was to be held.
The Church was what many in other parts of the US would consider small, but in comparison to some of the other Churches on or around the Navajo reservation (which, to give you an idea of the general size of some of the churches as far as the building is concerned, if they even had a restroom(s) with running water, they had only recently been added onto the main building structure) it was large, well-furnished with nice bathrooms, and several large rooms which included a good-sized kitchen.

At this particular moment, I was sitting in the sanctuary of that Navajo Church, tears flowing like Niagra Falls had relocated, taking up residence on my person, and make-up smeared all over my face (ugh, I never have cared for that crap) as if I was two again and had decided to try my hand at cosmetology.
Four young ladies, including my sister and one of my closest friends, gathered around me to pray as I shared some things I'd been struggling with, and asked for prayer regarding my future/upcoming decisions and some other various things I'll not be sharing on here. I listened as two of them, a bit older and wiser than myself, shared words of encouragement and wisdom.
Then one of them asked me something that totally threw me off and sent me into a whirl of momentary confusion. It was something like this, "Has Satan been saying things to you, and speaking lies to you in your head?"
Honestly it quite freaked me out for a few seconds as I attempted to discern WHAT on earth she was saying/implying. Though confusion was painted on my face as clearly as the make-up, I firmly shook my head "no."
With her next few sentences came sudden clarity. "Has he been telling you that you're not worth anything, that you're not beautiful, and not valuable?" With this the tears fell afresh as I realized the simple accuracy of her words. This time I nodded yes, and I almost think for a second I detected a hint of a smile as she realized my confusion and explained her meaning. Her next words were something like this: "But Satan IS lying to you when you feel those things. That IS him telling you those lies!"

After that experience, and the love and encouragement I received through it, I decided to share what was given to me.
You see, maybe you're where I was. You feel worthless, unloved, like nobody cares for you, that you're of little value.
It made no sense that I felt that way, and it may make no sense to you and/or others either. I have one of the most loving and accepting families on the planet, and a God who is even more so, yet I still struggled with it. I have close friends who I can trust and who are a huge blessing to me, yet I still struggled with some insecurities and doubts even if only in a small way. But even in a small way it affected my life and attitude/outlook.

I'm convinced that this very issue is linked to many young women's decisions to live a promiscuous and sinful lifestyle. They believe the lies Satan throws at them (from movies, to music, to books, to magazines, and even our society) saying they're not beautiful unless they're a certain height, a certain weight, with certain features, and a certain personality. That they're not worth anything unless they have certain clothes, shoes, make-up and accessories. That they're not cool unless they live in a certain house, have a certain car, certain friends, and a certain boyfriend. That they're not valuable unless they have certain talents, certain gifts, and a certain level of influence among society. That they're not loved unless they have guys dragging them into bed (forgive my bluntness but I see no point in sugar-coating what is so obvious) and taking them to every dance and football game. Many struggle to fit the world's definition of valuable, beautiful, cool, and loved, and when they fail to meet the requirements, they seek acceptance from other individuals/groups. They turn to drugs, drinking/partying, and a life of sexual sin, etc.

You see, I'd begun to believe the lies, and to doubt and forget just how loved, valued, accepted, beautiful and secure I really am. But as was God's intent for His body, when the foot tripped, the hand was able to reach out and regain stability and I was once again on my feet, thankfully before I'd managed to acquire any scrapes or bruises.

And now, hear this from me. You are loved! Oh SO loved! And regardless of all physical appearance, you ARE beautiful. You are valued! God created you to be YOU. Not your sister, not your neighbor, not your friend, not that popular girl at school, not the movie stars or the famous musicians or models, but YOU. He has a unique purpose for your life, and He so desires your love and affection, He so desires that you would see how much He cares about YOU as an individual. You'll never find satisfaction or fulfillment in the world. It is like a plague or disease that eats away at you and bit by bit sucks the life out of you. It's always seeking the newest styles, the newest fashions and trends, the "hottest boyfriend," the latest cool stuff etc.
You don't need that, and you don't want that life. It's not worth it.
God loves you, He created you with a purpose, and you are beautiful in more ways than you realize!
You have a choice. You can choose to live in God's reality and in His love and acceptance, or you can believe the lies and seek a life of acceptance and fulfillment elsewhere. But be warned: the latter is a nasty battle for wealth, fame and success. And it is an endless pursuit of happiness.

I left that Church/service and that circle of love and encouragement changed, with a new perspective and such a sweet sense of peace, love, joy, acceptance and security. It is my hope that this has encouraged you and that you have read it and been blessed as I was in hearing it from others.

Much love from your sister in the Lord,
           Victoria Christine

P.s. If this post struck a chord in you and you've been struggling and would like me to be in prayer for you, feel free to contact me. I can promise you I will pray! I do not take such requests lightly. My e-mail is: 
I can give you other contact information via e-mail if you'd like but I don't list other personal information on public sites.