I was looking back on one of my past Facebook posts and it was about a date I had long before my current marriage. It was a coffee date and the man wanted me to interpret an often misunderstood portion of Scripture where women should not speak in the church nor teach men. The irony of it all was if I were to interpret it to this man it meant I was “teaching” him, right? I think his point to me at the time was he wanted to tell me, as a female, I should not be a minister. My reply to him was, if God had taken me through all of the things I had endured and then not have me talk about them then what was the point? (I think some forget that God does the calling not man).
It was only one of some very exasperating dates I had in my time. I got a first hand look at some of the cruelty out there in the world. It’s like I had a continual parade of those who ended up not being “the one”. I absolutely hated it. I think those years were some of the most hurtful ones I had in awhile. I feel blessed to be married, because in all honesty, dating really stinks! I did get a good glimpse of who is out there though. I have to say it was truly an education. My heart goes out to the dating world because there are so many who truly want a good mate and it sure is not easy. I shed a lot of tears during those years and finally came to the conclusion that dating was not for the weak. I think I never needed the power of God more than that time.
Seriously, I had so many lemons pass through my life that I was ready to just tell the next man he might as well just jump in and join the bunch. The amazing thing about it all was, what God wanted to happen, did happen, when I gave up the conquest! I can just hear God say, “Are you through yet”? What can I say, I gave it my best shot. Turning my dating life over to God was hard because having the sense of going through life alone is hard. It gets even harder when walking into a place to eat or into church and seeing couples with their arms all wrapped around each other. I used to wonder why I was stuck with the lemons.
Just when I was not looking, when life moved on, God took over the whole parade. I surrendered! It was hard, but I was left with no choice. I was too darned tired to even try any more. I had worn my nerves out to a nub and swore I should have joined a convent a long time ago! God had a different plan though. When I quit sizing up every man I met to see if he was “the one”, that is when God did what He does best. He took the wheel! I had to also give up the idea that there is a perfect “one” somewhere out there for me. The temptation when things are not working out is to begin to settle for the one who is so totally NOT the one! Then I also had to learn that even “the one” is not perfect, but he is perfect for me.
Every relationship is a lesson. Let me repeat this. EVERY relationship is a lesson. It’s supposed to be that way, because life is about relationship. Relationships show us our wounds and the areas we need to heal. Its a struggle for those of us who have endured a lot of painful experiences. When I look back, I am glad that God stepped back and allowed me to date a bag of lemons! I got a glimpse of those who were not for me, so I could learn to see who is, in a way God wanted me to see. Now I am married. Is life easy? NOPE! There are still things to learn, to weed out, to compromise on, and to understand. Actually the one God chose to have me settle down with has taught me the deepest lessons about love, marriage, and commitment. Lessons are hard, especially when we all want the good “in love” parts. I have those too, but they come with the other things as well!
Remember this while dating and also waiting for the right person to come along:
“Life is a mixed bag, and its full of nuts”!
Yep, there ya go! Dating 101 according to Pastor Jenine! PLEASE do not settle for the first one who gives you chills because he might be quite chilling later on. Get to know people and let God step into the process. Allow the Lord to teach you good discernment and grow as a person. Love and marriage is a wonderful thing but it is not always easy and the process of meeting different people can show you what type of person you can go through life with and what type you really should not. When it gets hard, step back and let God do a work in you. I’m thankful for those alone days of preparation now. Those days have given me wisdom and discernment. I’m still learning in my marriage, but I am learning with the one who can handle my past wounds and still love me. I am also learning with the one I can handle as well. I understand him.
You might just date a lot of lemons out there but bless the experience because it will teach you how to be with the right one. Stop looking for prince charming! He does not exist! Instead, be aware of the one who will be there for you when life becomes a three ring circus and you find yourself in the lion’s den. The one for you is the one who will love you when you are not lovely. He will be the one you will be there for even after he has just acted like a donkey’s behind and knows it!
I know this all sounds very lovely, huh? Its honest. Choosing a mate is a serious selection process that might make you feel like YOU are the nut! LOL. Don’t give up, it is still worth the ride!
Pastor Jenine Marie Howry
**Photo courtesy of Her Campus