Thursday, August 2, 2012

What to do if you didn't kiss dating goodbye.....

I started a post on the Chick Fil A mess yesterday but my blogger is messed up. I had a humorous picture to attatch but it would not allow me to attach photos or links.  So hopefully it will be out of this funky mood soon and I can attach.

But, I did have something else I wanted to share....which applies to all of life, but in this post, I am applying it to dating (surprise surprise....)  Yesterday my friend and I were talking about dating and how Joshua Harris got it wrong. (He's the author of "I kissed dating goodbye", and sidenote: I never kissed dating goodbye and oftentimes think that those who did really just weren't getting asked out and needed an excuse for it)  I'm not saying that his ideal isn't wonderful and in some cases, idealistic and perfect-- date/court only one person, fall in love with said person and get married.  But, what I am saying is that rarely happens -- due to our sin or others' sin or living in a sinful world.  So, what do when that isn't our ideal? What about those of us who don't marry their high school sweethearts or save our first kisses for our husband or avoid broken hearts throughout the crazy 20s?? Are we doomed to less than fulfilling marriages?  Are we somehow "less than" in God's eyes? Can he still use us in marriages, families and life in general?

According to many Christian singles resources, NO.  or atleast, "on a diminished level".   But, according to the gospel, YES. Yes, God uses sinners, yes God uses the injured, Yes God uses victims.  and Yes, God can bless them all.  In fact, I see more versions of "less than ideal" circumstances in the Bible than I see of "ideal circumstances"

My friend and I spent a good time yesterday talking about the painful situations we know/ others/
ourselves/etc are in based on sin....broken hearts, rape, sexual compromise, pregnancy, STDs, dishonesty in relationships, cheating, being cheated on, etc etc.  It was a very discouraging conversation until we started talking about how we had seen God use certain people and their stories or how we couldn't wait to see how he used them for His glory.

This is how our convo ended:

"Suck It Joshua Harris, this is the real world and real redemption."

"Yes, stories like these are good. We serve a God who is faithful when we aren't. We serve a God who can redeem the worst situations.  Thats what the Bible is full of - stories like ours, stories like these. Not people who kissed dating goodbye."

And for some reason I feel compelled to share that message.  If you got married young, if you courted instead of dated, if you've never kissed a boy or broke someone's heart or had yours broken, then good for you, really (I don't mean this in a condescending way!)  You have been spared some pain and you made some good decisions.  (Although, even then, I am in no way naive enough to believe you have been immune to heartache, lust, rejection, death, childlessness, etc etc) BUT FOR THE REST OF US, turn to scripture and see how God uses people like us, see how He redeems situations.

So what should we do when broken hearts, damaged relationship, sex and its consequences are a part of most Christian's histories in some way or another?  Turn to Him.  I think what keeps many people from running into the arms of God when they have sinned or been hurt relationally is the idea that seems to seep into Christianity that you are now somehow lacking (which you are, but no more than anyone else because we are all sinful!).  I've seen people who get so down on themselves that they continue to live a lifestyle they shouldn't because they think that's all they deserve now.  I've read many articles that tell you that your marriage and sex life is only doomed to suffer because of your past hurts and sins....and yes, we all have to work through sins in marriages and past decisions can be hard to work through, I think sending the message that you will always have lacking relationships only encourages people to remain in despair, sin and pain.  They are being told, "Don't bother trying, God can't redeem YOUR sin.  He can't restore YOUR brokeness. Yes, he can redeem judgmentalness, gossip, anger, etc, but not sexual sin, not brokeness from relationships."  I've spent far too long after broken relationships thinking who would want someone with so much pain and baggage attached to her history?  Instead of looking at the baggage, I should look to how the Lord has redeemed the past-- trading sorrow for joy, pain for wisdom and growth.  I am the person I am today because of the path He allowed me to take.

If I could share one thing with people my age, that would be it.  I've thankfully been spared from a lot. Others have not.  But their lives are not doomed. How do I know that God can redeem their lives despite brokeness and sin? Joshua Harris told me, just kidding...I read scriptures and learned of David (adulturer who was also considered a man after God's own heart), Rahab (prostitute who helped the Isrealites and is one of the few women listed in the lineage of Jesus), Ruth (pagan widow with bitter mother in law who grew up in a promiscuous culture and was dirt poor when the Lord blessed her with a godly spouse and lineage towards Jesus), Hannah (who was crying in the temple for a long awaited child when the priest thought she was a drunk crazy lady -- God blessed her with a son after her tears and prayers!)

At the end of the day, the story line is about God's glory --- and yes, I think happy pure courtships glorify God.  I also think redeemed wild boys and recovering divorcees can be used for His glory too.  The gospel has very little to do with our perfection anyways (thankfully), so His perfection is shown to be even brighter amidst our brokeness.

I feel like a mom or a teacher or youth leader with my rant today, but I felt like its something I needed to share: Your past, your sin, your hurts are not too big for our savior to REDEEM.  So if you didn't kiss dating goodbye, don't fret, run to the arms of our Lord.

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