Second Sight

and then i met you

My hope for this blog post is for it to encourage brothers that are single and struggling, and shed some light and the truth on being single. I pray God is glorified through this written piece of my journey pursuing Lil.

Are there any suitable ladies out there? I’d often ask myself the question: is there something wrong with me? Am I too sensitive? Do I care too much?

After falling short of finding a relationship throughout first year of university and the end of high school, I had come to what I’d say was my wit’s end: an intense night of prayer began which had me humbled in the study of my best friend’s house, leading to a hopeful prayer, asking God if I could just know my wife as a friend. How do I remember? Oh, my best friend will tell you of the passion I had prayed with; he heard every bit of it in the room next to the study.

As much as a mother worries about her son finding someone that is suitable for him, I think it’s only fitting that a son worries the same amount. Growing up in the church and in a Christian home, I was always exposed to fairy tales of what love looked like. My parents modelled it every day, and I craved that same love. I remember desiring so much to just appreciate a woman, to show her true value, to care for her and look out for her. I was always a soft and caring person; it makes sense why I’d desire to care for someone so much.

The evening of intense prayer was followed by the first day of World Equip, and I was trusting that I’d meet my wife there, as a friend. When selecting seats, I always make sure I get an aisle seat. I can’t stand having to barge through people to get to the loo mid-session. And so, a group of friends and I found the perfects seats. They were willing to forfeit the aisle seat and I was willing to sit in a row they wanted to.

Coincidentally, I saw this incredibly beautiful girl walking with the brightest and most joyful smile. The first thing I noticed was her gorgeous rosy cheeks and her sea-blue eyes that I couldn’t stop staring at. She continued to walk in the direction I was seated, my heart started throbbing, I was so confused. She sat in the row in front of my friends, and as she sat down, she almost immediately turned and introduced herself. Could it be this easy? I had been planning on how I’d approach her as she was walking towards me. Swoosh!

Endless pursuing throughout the week (with lots of rejection) landed me the all-important date, where I told her how I really felt. Knowing she was leaving the next day, I had to get it out – I didn’t want her to leave confused, and I didn’t want to hide it. I felt something deep for her. Graeme still refers to that evening as the day Lil told him that I’m insane. He enjoys the memory.

I feel like ladies always get the easy job. The next few months were followed by a whole lot of confusion; it was difficult. I had planned on seeing her again, because I knew I had to, but that trip would turn out to be one of the most heart-breaking trips I had ever been on. Odd to think so, knowing that I had my best friend with me the whole time.

I saw Lil in June/July 2016 after being separated for around 9 months. I had come fully expecting to gain clarity on where our relationship stood. This trip only led to more uncertainty, and it was heart-breaking from my side. I remember the one day, even though most of the trip was super confusing, Graeme and I were speaking about our relevant ladies and we both, almost at the same time, agreed that they were the ones for us.

Lil and I shared a few significant evenings, and heart-to-hearts, and even though I went home being more confused, for some reason I just couldn’t stop pursuing her, and that’s what we believe to be the Holy Spirit playing a role in both of our lives. Where she was still confused, and I wasn’t, the Holy Spirit thought we both had things we needed to work on, before we could take the responsibility of being in a relationship. Even through the heart-ache, I look back and know that I was not able to lead a woman at that stage in my life, and it is by God’s great love that he kept us apart.

Although there is still far more to the story, I’m going to land it. I got back from Australia, and for some reason, Lil and I had decided that we weren’t truly pursuing a friendship, so we decided to put some rules into place. We scheduled our calls, and limited our talking time to weekends only. This was probably the most difficult thing I have ever had to enforce in my life, knowing truly in my heart that the woman I was deeply in love with needed a bit of space, and I needed to be known as a friend before I could know her as a partner.

I seemed incredibly strong to her in this time, but I was dying on the inside. I tried to view other ladies through the same lens, but just couldn’t – there would always be a caution in my Spirit, I almost felt as if I was cheating, even though I wasn’t in a relationship. To escape the pain, I spent a lot of time playing squash and hanging with friends. God revealed to me that there was still a lot that I needed to work on, and that I had to pursue him before I pursued Lil.

‘’Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. The heart of the wise is the house of mourning, but the heart of the fools is in the house of mirth.’’
– Eccl 7:3-4

I look back on that time, and this scripture speaks volumes, I had never been so dependent on God and I crave to be in that space again.

Single men, I’ll encourage you, it’s not shameful to admit the hardship of being single and lonely.

‘’He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord.’’
– Proverbs 18:22

There is a reason why we desire this, and there is a reason why it hurts to be single. But I will encourage you, never has a man been led astray by pursuing the will of God for his life.

I will leave you with this.

‘’So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as he is so also are we in this world’’.
– 1 John 4:16-17

God is love, and does all things out of love. Being single is not a curse. Pursue God and let him be your absolute and complete satisfaction, even when you have found your suitable helper.

Regards,
Jacques.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Image: https://favim.com/image/617547/, sourced 28 October 2017.

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First Sight

Jacques Lil Chair

Where to sit? The auditorium held over a thousand people and was still filling up. My friends and I wandered through the rows of seats, glancing around at the stage and the exit lights, weighing up the pros and cons of each section. Too close to the speakers, too far from the loos, too strange a position for my neck.

We figured off to the side of the stage was still close but not ostentatious. I sat on the aisle, about eight rows from the stage, at least six seats away from Joel. Six seats away from him was his wife Tracey. In a crowded room it was beyond talking distance. I stared blindly at my phone for a moment or two, but remembered that this was South Africa, and I didn’t have any service here.

Swivelling in my seat with the thought of being social, there were a group of guys sitting in the row behind me. I introduced myself and the strawberry blonde guy immediately stood out as the loud one, exclaiming over my Aussie accent. The guys and I quickly got chatting, about crop tops, of all things and a couple of my friends from Australia joined us. They were all really friendly, but one guy stood out for some reason. Maybe it’s because he was a little more reserved. Maybe it was because he had dark features and olive skin (hey, we all have a type), but somehow my subconscious flagged him.

Jacques. Last name too hard to pronounce (and immediately forgotten).

God reminded me of his name in the middle of the worship that followed. You see, that morning as I’d been praying God had given me three prophetic words. After telling me who the first two words were for, I asked, “Who is the last one for?” God said, “You’ll meet them this week.” As I was singing he told me, “It’s for the guy in the seat behind you, Jacques.”

Little did I know that when I shared that prophetic word with him, God was also adding another bit that I would not be informed of for at least another year: Oh by the way, this girl is your future wife.

I was coming to the end of what was possibly the worst year of my life. I had moved a few times in my 22 years, but this was the first time I had done it indefinitely. God had swept away my plans of being an Au Pair nanny in Europe for a ‘gap year’ after my uni degree and had told me to go to Werribee, or as the people in my home town call it, ‘the poo farm’ (it is known there as the home of a sewage plant).

Moving up to Melbourne, I had found a job quickly, but was barely making enough money as a casual to get by, and Mum and Dad had not been able to support me. I had moved house 5 times already that year, with another move scheduled for the week following my return from South Africa. I had broken up with a guy in May and felt like I was saying goodbye to my last hope at finding love. There were barely any single people at my church. I was surrounded by married couples and young families that I had to fight hard not to be jealous of. I thought it would be another 10 years before any other guy would look my way, but God was doing a big work in my heart. The most painful work to date. And he showed me that I needed to allow him to if I wanted to stop going round the mountain. At long last, I did.

At the same Christian conference in Melbourne called AusEquip that God had told me to move to Werribee for a local church there, he had also showed me that I had to be at the World Equip in Johannesburg, a year and 10 months later. For the first time ever, I truly submitted my whole life and will to Jesus. I said, “I’m yours. Wherever you lead me, I’ll go.” So I cancelled all my plans and my only goal for over a year was this conference.

The day I booked my flight (having had to borrow some of the money from my parents) the booking company called me an hour after I received ‘confirmation’ that they had somehow lost my seat on the flight. Having not had the best couple of months, I was raging, to put it mildly. I was scared of being left in a foreign country by myself but was a little placated when I realised the return flight that I had been re-booked on was the same one that my second family, the Kay-Hards, were travelling on.

I was more than a little upset and I said to God, “Okay, this has obviously happened for a reason. Something good better happen on that extra day that I’m staying there.”

That something good was my first proper date with my future husband, the 19-year-old young man who had sat in the seat behind me, who God had asked me to prophecy over before we even met. It wouldn’t be 10 years for another guy to notice me, but 5 months. Oh how glad I am now that I obeyed God in that moment months before the conference, when I had no idea how long I was going to have to wait.

Has it all been smooth sailing? Ask Jacques. He’ll tell you no. Just like I told him for the first nine months. He had to ask four times even just to get a group date out of me. I put him though some tests, curious about whether he was interested in me, or in just having a little romance at a conference filled with so many young single girls.

When I came back to Australia and first told my dad about him, Dad said, “If he’s the right one, he’ll be unstoppable.” Jacques has been the definition of that, pursuing me single-mindedly for two years now.

I finally said yes, and even though I thought my wish list for a husband was big, God has given me far more in Jacques than I ever dared to ask, or even hope for. One day in the car a few months back as I was driving to work the song Good, Good Father came on and I just started bawling my eyes out, realising how generous God has been with me.

And he wants to be that generous with you too.

But he doesn’t need your help in supplying you a spouse.

“There aren’t many guys at your church.”

“You’ve just got to put yourself out there more.”

“Maybe you should move to an area/church with at least some potential husbands/wives.”

“How does hanging out with all these young families help you?”

“When you finally stop looking and are content to just be single, then you’ll find the one.”

These ideas are often frustrating and sometimes tempting to buy into in those lonely moments, but what does that say about our faith?

At the end of the day my heart would always ask:

How many guys do I need? A whole crowd of them, or just one?

How big is my God again? Oh wait, He holds the entire universe in his hand. Is the same God who spoke galaxies into being not powerful enough to bring me one man? Do I have to help him out because he’s tired, forgetful, or just struggling to get it all done?

Lift your eyes again, or for the first time, to the one who has promised to be faithful, to never leave you, to always work for your good. If you let go of striving for things like a spouse, he is not going to leave you hanging. Not this good, good Father of ours.

“So do not worry about your life, what you will eat … what you will wear, [who you will marry] … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
– Matthew 6:25,33

If anyone reading this would like to share their story or struggle with me, please feel free to contact me in a comment below. I’d love to pray with you.

Sincerely
Lil

The Man of Peace

Ever heard people talk about inner peace, or finding their bliss? To some people this sounds cool; to others it might sound like a load of new age mumbo jumbo. People try self-help books, crash diets, inspirational seminars, meditating, various religions and practices. The question is why does none of it last?

The reason is that peace is not a feeling to conjure up, or a philosophy to follow. Peace is a person.

The person of Jesus Christ.

“For he himself is our peace.”
– Ephesians 2:14-18

His title, one of many, is the Prince of Peace. My pastor often quotes the saying, “No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.” If the peace you experience doesn’t really seem to last, it is because it’s like separating a coal from a fireplace and throwing it out onto the concrete hearth. Slowly it cools, leaving you wondering why you now feel cold and alone. And where you can get your next fix.

Jesus is the fire.

You can find lasting peace in Jesus because he is in control of everything and unchanging. The man spoken about in the bible died but he rose again and is still alive and well today, and he hasn’t updated himself to keep up with the times. Remember that song, “He’s got the whole world in his hands…”? It is as true today as when God created the universe “through, and for and by” Jesus (Col 1:16). The same passage says, “He is before all things and in him all things hold together” (Col 1:17). Consider the fact that the only thing holding all your atoms together, or all the droplets of water in the world’s biggest ocean, is Jesus. So when he says he doesn’t change, we can trust it.

God has always been a God of peace, and Jesus is the “exact representation of his being” (Heb 1:3).

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
– Isaiah 9:6

The bible makes it clear that God’s peace through Jesus is available to us through faith in him. Philippians 4:4-7 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Peace comes from knowing that once you believe in Jesus and ask him to come into your life that all of your striving can cease. How many of us actually take that on board? Sometimes I feel like I should have it as a poster on my wall. “Hey Lil, now that Jesus is here all of your striving can cease.”

Religion says, “Try really hard your whole life and maybe, just maybe, you might be good enough to scrape into heaven as a servant in the back shed at the end of it all.” God says, “As soon as you believe in my Son I adopt you into my family. You are a child of God, seated in heavenly places and co-heirs with Christ. Forget the back shed, I am preparing a bedroom for you inside my house. Because Jesus already paid what you couldn’t pay, you now have access to forgiveness and a restored relationship with me. All you have to do is believe, repent and receive.”

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
– Romans 5:1

What a relief. Our eternity doesn’t depend on us. Religion makes it about us, but God makes it about Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

In Matthew 3 when the Holy Spirit appears as a dove and lands on Jesus after his baptism, we learn something else about God’s character.  It was recently pointed out by our pastor Russ that a dove won’t land on someone who is moving around or panicking. It will land on a still and peaceful person. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” This is talking about the peace that comes from trusting that God is in control and is working for our good.

One of the ways people will be able to recognise us as children of God is our peacefulness, even in difficult situations or tragedy. As one example, Paul and Silas were singing worship songs to God while in prison (Acts 16). As another, in 1873 when a man named Horatio G. Spafford wrote the famous hymn It is Well With My Soul, it was right after his four daughters had just died in a shipwreck.

Jesus can bring peace to a troubled and anxious mind. In the gospels he delivers many people tormented by demons.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
– John 14:27

Peace to relationships in turmoil.
The most obvious being the human race separated from God by our sin, but Jesus’ blood paid the price to restore shalom, peace, to that relationship too. God also has the power to restore marriages and bring estranged families back together. He can bring relationships back into harmony and he wants to partner with us to do it.

Rom 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Peace in the midst of illness.

God allowed Satan to take Job’s wealth, children and health from him in a very short space of time to test his heart. Job’s faith in God was real, because his response was not filled with curses and anger, but submission and trust.

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” – Job 1:21

Peace during financial insecurity.

Is 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”

I will leave you with this one last scripture.

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

Sincerely,
Lil

 

Further scriptures about peace:
Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.”

Is 55:12 “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.”

Isaiah 57:2 “Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.”

Zech 8:19 “Love truth and peace.”

Zech 9:10 “He will proclaim peace to the nations.”

Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). While a gift is given in an instant, fruit is grown over months of sun, watering and tending.

Col 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.”

 

Sources:
http://staugustine.com/living/religion/2014-10-16/story-behind-song-it-well-my-soul, sourced 14 October 2017.

All bible verses are from the NIV translation.