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Please, God! Ask Me for Anything But This!

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From a dear single sister in Christ who is in her thirties, I so appreciate her willingness to share her story – and I believe that what God showed her is something He wants to show each of us as His followers:

I remember when God asked me to give up my dreams. “Okay God, Your will and not mine. Done! I will go wherever you want and do whatever you want,” I prayed. I was excited about the direction God had planned for my life. It took me a few variations of this conversation to understand what He meant. He meant my most personal and valuable dream.

He wanted me to take my desire to become a wife and a mother and lay it on the altar.

I begged God to take any dream but that one. I pleaded with Him, offering Him anything in exchange for the chance to hold on to my dream. My terms have never been sufficient. My dying to self had to be on His terms alone. I remember the day, broken beyond anything I can put into words, when I finally laid my dream on the altar.

At first I laid it on the altar, but I could not walk away. I laid it down, but kept my fingers on it. This was not good enough. He asked me to walk away from the dream, the idol. I turned my back on my dream and felt paralyzed. How do you move forward and away from the only thing you cherished for so long? You see, even though I was not married, I always held on to the hope that I would be one day. I allowed myself to live with the hope of a fairy tale coming true.

I was confused and did not understand how God could want me to stop hoping. Wasn’t He a God of hope? He most certainly is! He had to teach me, ever so slowly, that my hope is to be in Him alone, not the promise of a man. He did not want me to stop hoping; He wanted me to stop hoping in anything other than Him to fill my deepest desire.

He wanted to become my deepest desire. Then, and only then, could He fill that void.

  • First, I had to realize He was not my greatest desire.
  • Then, I had to realize that He was my greatest desire.

Giving up the dream of marriage and babies was one of the most painful things I have ever done in my life. It forced me to come to terms with the fact that I am no one’s favorite person; I do not have someone to bounce ideas off of; I may die alone. However, I know that I am a child of God; I can cast all of my cares on Him and that His Word will always direct me.

I may be physically alone when I die, but I will be in eternity with my King.

My friend, if you are hurting and lonely today, know that Jesus is truly the only need you have. When you give Him full access to your heart, He will consume your life in ways you cannot imagine. He will lead you on a journey that is captivating.

What dream have you cherished that God is asking you to release to Him?

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

This calling to give up our most precious dreams (and all of our dreams, really), is one that God calls all disciples of Christ to do.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done. Matthew 16:24-27

Yes, those of us who are married have husbands, and they may even have children. These are good gifts, but husbands and children cannot satisfy the deepest needs of our souls. If we try to find our deepest needs met in other people, we – and the people we idolize – will be most miserable. People can never be God to us. Only Jesus can truly satisfy. If we only love God for what we can get from Him – that is not true love! Think about a woman you know who only stays with a man because of what he can give her, not because she really cares about him. Not a pretty picture.

God wants us to love Him – the Giver – far more than we love His gifts!!

God graciously never allows us to find ultimate contentment, fulfillment, joy, peace, purpose, and identity in anything but Himself – because these things can’t be found anywhere but in Him! HE, alone, is the Greatest Treasure!

Being married doesn’t guarantee a woman anything. She has no promise that nothing bad will happen to her husband, her children, or to her own health. Single and married women (and men) can hurt and hurt deeply. We all desperately need the absolute Lordship of Christ Jesus to give us Real Love and Real Life.

We must all ask ourselves:

I had to do exactly what my single friend had to do – and what God called Abraham to do in Genesis 22. I had to be willing to lay the most important dreams in my life on the altar and take my hands away, trusting God with whatever He decided was best in His sovereignty.

When you have never really trusted God with your deepest dreams before, this seems TERRIFYING. I felt like I was jumping off of a spiritual cliff at first. But it is only when we are willing to give up the things in this world that mean the most to us, that we are truly following Christ.

Jesus is completely worthy of THIS level of devotion. In fact, anything less than all that we are and all that we have is not enough. He gave ALL for us, now we give ALL for Him.

We don’t know the ending when we agree to trust Him and to submit all to Him. We trust that He knows infinitely better than we do, and we lay it all down, willing to sign up for His will no matter what it might be, even if it might be painful, even if our deepest dreams are not realized. Paradoxically, yielding all that we are and all that we have to Jesus is the only path to true contentment, fulfillment, and joy.

We must decide whether we will be content with Christ alone. Then we have the opportunity to learn the sufficiency of Christ and what it means to make Him our ALL. Once we have done that, we know we will be ok as long as we have Him. Once you have experienced the supernatural joy, peace, power, and spiritual abundance of Jesus, nothing else really seems to matter as much. Once we truly taste Jesus, we realize that the scariest place to be is trusting self and clinging to our own dreams, and that the most blessed place in the world is to trust in Christ completely and to be open and vulnerable to His will and His plans for us.

Taste and see how very sufficient Jesus is, my sweet friends. He will never disappoint us! Then you can be content in Him no matter what your circumstances may be and you can be full of His joy and peace all day every day. It is SO WORTH IT!

42 thoughts on “Please, God! Ask Me for Anything But This!

  1. Love this! But it’s a very scary concept requiring a lot of trust and courage.

    1. Arabella,
      Yep. It absolutely requires a lot of trust in God and courage. And faith. That is what following Christ is about, and somehow we have watered down what it means to be a Christian so much in our culture, it can be shocking to see what Jesus really asks us to do. But – following Him is the best place to be in the universe! I long for everyone to get to experience the sweet fellowship and the sufficiency of Christ Jesus and what a wonderful Lord and Treasure He is.

      Much love to you!

      (Thanks so much for catching that typo! Yikes!)

      1. I am struggling right now, too. I so understand Rose’s comments.

        April, have you posted about the fear that you had and how long you wrestled with that? Just curious, I think I would like to read if you have specifically spoken about your experience. I’ll search the terms you suggested when I have more time.

        I’m really struggling with feeling insecure and jealous and I think that some of that is from my own self, but some is a result of some things that have happened in my marriage. I’m struggling because it seems like I am supposed to just forgive and forget and not have those things affect me….but I don’t know how to *not* let it affect me. Even when I bring things up in a respectful way, he is not able to hear me or help me in my hurt….which just makes it all the more hurtful.

        I ask for any prayers on my behalf for wisdom and clarity. I feel like I’m confused as to whether I’ve been making things up in my head (about things that have happened in the past) or have they been real, but my husband doesn’t want to accept the responsibility? I’m starting to feel a little insane and that’s not such a good feeling. 🙂

        Thanks for listening.

        1. Hey Jennifer I could have written this. In my own experience the intense fear and insecurity is becuause I idolize my husband and am desperate for his love/ approval however badly he treats me. If you can start the process of uprooting your desire for your husband and replacing it with a desire for God I believe you’ll be on the right path. It is sooo painful, soo confusing but completely worth it. Unllike April my biggest fear was my husband’s rejection rather than making that leap to wholeheartedly trusting God. I want to trust God but it is hard uprooting the deep seated desire for another’s love and approval….I want to turn to God alone for that but it is hard figuring out how to do thAt. I have a long way to go but at least this journey has started.. I hope that encourages you.

        2. Jennifer,

          Hmm.. I know I have written about my fears a number of times. If you search “fear” in my home page, I am sure at least one or two of those posts are about that.

          Because your husband is not a believer at this time, I wonder how much he can help you in his hurt about his sin. Has he repented of it, as much as he can? Or is it ongoing? When was the last time this happened?

          There is a difference between forgiving and trusting. Have you seen my post about that? You can fully forgive him in the power of Christ, but trust may have to be rebuilt depending on what the issue was.

          Have you read the post at the top of my home page “When My Spouse Is Wrong”?

          praying for much wisdom for you!

          1. Jennifer,
            THIS is awesome!!!! Thank you SO VERY much for sharing. I love what God is doing in your heart!!! I love the things He is showing you. What powerful lessons!

            I know your courage and willingness to share will greatly bless many other wives here, my sweet sister!

            Much love!
            April

  2. I’m currently reading a book called “disappointment with GOD” it’s a requirement for my biblical perspective class at the college. I’ve read chapter s 1-5 so far it’s a good read. A great book for the disappointed to get a better understanding (Content) 🙂

  3. As a single woman who will turn 40 very soon, this is a topic that hits close to home. It is also a bit confusing. I do need to make my desire to be married less of a priority. However, I am still confused about whether laying it down is the same as resigning myself to a fact of never being married. Does it mean – even if a godly, “appropriate” man were to start pursuing me, that I must say, “No. I am not to get married?”
    In my desire to be married, I’m not chasing men, acting inappropriately, or doing everything I can to meet someone. I do trust that God can orchestrate having me meet the right person – if it is in His will. Honestly, I haven’t always been like that, but a painful relationship a couple of years ago showed me that I shouldn’t try to make an inappropriate man into marriage material. Anyway, with a lot of things I read, I get the feeling that 30s and 40s are the magical time where a woman should just say, “I’m not married yet at this age, so obviously that’s not God’s plan for me.”
    Please understand that this is a painful topic. Personally, I do not want to love anything or person more than God. Have I perfected that? Has anyone? No, but the desire to have God in first place is there. And my awareness of how I fall short in that area is growing keener. And I *am* trying to make adjustment where needed.
    I would love to hear your thoughts on this. And please, anyone reading this, please pray for me in this area.

    1. If I may chime in here?

      I was in my 30’s when I married. I have friends and family members who are single, much older than I was, and still desire marriage very much.

      There is nothing in Scripture that specifies that we must give up our desire or hope to be married at any age. I think the point of the post is finding contentment in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

      At the same time, being single has its own unique pain at times. I think it’s good to acknowledge that.

      I believe it’s what we do with the pain the matters.

      Yes, there is reason to always hope for marriage at any age, if that’s our desire. But entrusting God to still be your greatest joy, and to be content in His directing the timing of things in your life is to be our focus.

      Sometimes, if we ask ourselves if we are willing to give up our biggest dreams and desires, it’s a good test to where our hearts are. Is He still our greatest joy, or do we refuse to be content if our circumstances are not easy?

    2. Mipwin,

      Being willing to surrender and yield our dearest dreams to God is always painful. I can absolutely understand that. Yielding our dreams and laying them on the altar does not mean we will never receive our dreams, it means we allow God to determine if, when, and how we might receive our dreams and that we pursue Christ far above our dreams, that we can be content in Him whether we have these other things or not.

      I have seen women marry later than their 30s or 40s. So I am not sure I would say that every woman should decide they will never marry by a certain age. I think that this would require sensitivity to God’s Spirit for a woman to determine if or when she wants to mentally close the door on the idea of marriage.
      I love the idea of holding everything loosely and allowing God to give things and take things away according to His wisdom and His timing and my desire is for us all to be very sensitive to His voice and leading no matter what our circumstances, that we might walk closely to Him in obedience to Him.

      Abraham received Isaac back to himself, and didn’t ultimately have to sacrifice him. Sometimes God wants us to show him that we are willing to give things up for His sake. Then we trust Him with the outcome. I hope that makes sense. I don’t know who will receive their dreams, who may not, or how long someone may have to wait. But I do know that as we fully surrender to God without conditions, we are most content, joyful, and blessed in Christ.

      Much love to you!

      1. April,
        Thank you for your response. 🙂 it does make a lot of sense. I do try to make sure that my heart is in the right place, regarding trusting God with my marital status. In general, not just on marriage, I am learning to trust and surrender to Him more and more. And my love and worship have grown noticeably in recent times.

        Still, a lot of times when I read posts about singleness, they do kind of have a slant that almost makes me feel guilty for wanting to be married at all. Not that this post does this. 🙂 At times, though, I (mis)read that guilt message into anything I read about being a single Christian.

        1. Mipwin,
          I am so excited about your walk with Christ growing, and your trust and your surrender deepening to Christ. WOOHOO!!

          I am also glad you realize you may misread guilt messages where there shouldn’t be one. That is important to notice, so you can monitor your own filters before misunderstanding others.

          Yielding all to Christ is something God asks of us all. Ultimately, any “sacrifice” we make for Him, ends up not really looking like a sacrifice once we realize what we have in Him and all that He gives to us of Himself when we are fully submitted and yielded.

          Praying for you to know God more and more and to be overflowing with His Living Water, joy, peace, and abundant spiritual life!!

    3. Mipwin,
      I am 46 and still waiting for the husband God promised me 20 years ago. God has been preparing me for this man by putting it in my heart to utterly submit to Him and to have absolute dependence on Him for everything. He is my strength, and my portion. The Lord may be waiting on you to submit every area of your life to Him and to abide in Jesus alone. Our God is a jealous God, and at this point in your life He wants you all to Himself.

      There is a book called “appointment in Jerusalem”, and autobiography about an awesome woman of God named Lydia Prince. She married her husband Derek Prince when she was 55, and he was 30; AND, she had 8 adopted girls at the time!!! They were married for 30 years and loved each other dearly. But it was the will of God and they were brought together for ministry. We must never forget that God’s ultimate purpose for us, single or married, is to glorify Him. If it brings Him honor and glory to work through us by His grace while we are single, then let it be so.

      1. Renee, I do keep in mind that my purpose is to bring glory to the Lord. 🙂 With His strength, I am able to serve and be a witness to Him in this (temporary or permanent) time of singleness. If God has plans for me to be married, I can see very clearly the ways in which He has refined me to be able to live as a godly, unselfish wife. 🙂

  4. Here is how I look at yielding my dreams to God now.

    Lord,
    I would love to have this thing in my life if it is Your will. But I will be content with You no matter what my circumstances and no matter what Your will for me is. I need You. I want to know You more. I want all of Your will, even if it is painful. Whatever will bring You the most glory will bring me the most joy. I am up for whatever adventure You have in store for me and I can’t wait to draw closer and closer to You on the journey. Only empower me to be faithful!

  5. Hey April,
    I think a lot about Abraham and Isaac. My wife and I “hung on” through the difficulties until she was forced to let go through running out of answers. That separation was the catalyst for me to change dramatically in ways I could never have imagined and to get through a lifetime of lies and deceit to a life of being able to trust myself, know Godly truth in me and true joy which i have never known.
    But it wasn’t voluntary and until now the Lord in His mercy has allowed me closer to Him so I will press forward to let go of more and more things. For me, He has allowed me to travel fifty years through some rough country to where I now understand that He wants my last one percent not the first ninety nine percent. The only way I can deal with that last one percent is to keep pressing in to Him more and more and then I keep finding more and more to let go…..
    I would love to say that the Lord had said to me “will you give up everything?” and I gave a hearty “yes” but still in His grace He somehow sees our hearts when we can’t…

    1. Gary,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story, I love that you can see how God used a really difficult trial – separation from your wife – to wake you up and draw you to Himself. Praying for you and your wife!

  6. Can anyone explain WHY exactly God gives us certain dreams, like getting married or having children, but does not fulfill them on earth? Is it simply so that we will learn to value him more than anything? It seems that these are good desires, so it seems that they may indeed come from him (rather than Satan for example). It just seems like purposely not satisfying those desires is an slightly strange way that God uses to help us learn to value Himself (though God’s ways are definitely higher than mine!). Sometimes I wish he didn’t give me the desire to have kids in the first place, this would be a whole lot easier 🙂

    1. Daisy, I have been reading “Shattered Dreams” by Larry Crabb which has been a huge blessing and I think will answer this question for you (much better than I could). I highly recommend it. It has answered these types of questions for me and 100% points the reader to Christ.

    2. Daisy,

      God only makes good things. We all have desires for many things that are good – food, air, water, health, relationships, love, safety, acceptance, money, a place to live, etc…

      My desiring food is good. God gave me that appetite. It means I am alive and healthy. If I don’t desire food at all, I am probably very sick. But, if I put my desire for food above God, I will destroy myself with food. God made food for a purpose. But if I try to take food and put it in God’s proper place in my life, it is deatructive to me.

      If we can keep our desires in their proper place and perspective and if we are willing to wait for God’s timing and His way for our desires to be met, that can be a beautiful thing.

      But if we allow a desire for something other than God to be our source of greatest fulfillment, purpose, identity, etc… Rather than God being our Life and our Greatest Love, we will destroy ourselves with that desire or with that thing.

      God, in His great wisdom and sovereignty, knows what is best in ways we cannot begin to understand. He has remains for saying yes, no, or wait. They are good reasons. We don’t usually get to know them at the time.

      I love how God used barren women so many times in His plan. I have to believe that those women spending so many decades praying for a baby were much more appreciative of the babies they had when they did have them. And their faith was much stronger for having gone through those years of trials, which made them more godly mothers. Of course, some women never do have children. Sometimes, God gives them spiritual children instead. Or a ministry. Or some other calling.

      I don’t know God’s plans for you. I know that there have been times in history where there were great trials and suffering or intense persecution when God instructed some people not to marry and have children in order to spare them much suffering and pain.

      I know God is good. I know He is love. I know He is much wiser than any of us. I know He cannot have evil motives toward us. I know that He is sovereign. I know He is outside of time and space. I know He is already in the future.

      I also know He asks all of us to surrender our desires in order to receive His will and His desires for us.

      So, I cannot specifically answer why God might not give a particular person his or her desire at a specific time. But I do know we can trust God fully, and He will do what is ultimately best for us.

      I hope this might help somewhat.

      Much love!!

      1. Daisy,

        Oh! Thought of a few more things. I think this topic could be a book, in itself. So, I know my couple of paragraphs is inadequate, but may get us thinking…

        If we are willing to sin to try to meet our God-given desires – that is not ok. Or if we want to try to meet our God-given, good desires in an illegitimate way – that is a problem. That is what Satan is always tempting us to do – to take our good desires for food, sex, love, acceptance, comfort, contentment, etc… and to try to convince us to meet those desires outside of the will and plan of God.

        And sometimes, God does test us. With Abraham, Isaac was the child of the promise God gave to Abraham. He was the answer to Abraham’s prayer and he was the sign that God was going to honor His covenant that He initiated with Abraham. But God wanted Abraham to have the opportunity to show Him that God was first in his heart, not Isaac.

        The life of a follower of Christ does have self-denial in it many times. Sometimes it is temporary, sometimes it is permanent. Taking up our cross daily is going to mean different things for different believers at different times in our lives and in history. But Jesus is worthy of all of our devotion, love, adoration, praise, and honor. And He is worthy of every sacrifice we could possibly make. In the end, He will repay us for our sacrifices more than we can imagine. He wants to see us follow Him with great faith and total trust even when we don’t understand. We can lay our desires before Him, trusting Him to grant us the desires of our hearts in His timing, or for Him to know something that would be better for us. But He must be infinitely more precious and important to us than our desires for earthly things.

        I love how our single sister worded it –
        – First, I had to realize that God was not my greatest desire.
        – Then I had to realize that He was my greatest desire.

        There is an element of wrestling that we cannot escape in our Christian walk – where we must lay down self and our will and our wisdom, totally trusting Jesus with the outcome, being content in Him whatever His will might be. When we can learn to rest in His peace and sovereignty in the middle of uncertainty, not knowing if we will receive the earthly things we desire, but being completely content in Him, that is the most amazing place to be spiritually. Each day is an adventure – we never know what surprises and miracles might be in store for us. These times of testing and trials build our faith and purify our motives and bring us to maturity in ways that getting everything we want when we want it just can’t ever accomplish.

        Much love!

    3. Wayne Grudem addresses this type of question in his book and podcasts Systematic Theology – in the sections on the attributes of God, the sovereignty of God, and the providence of God.

      1. Thank you so much April for taking the time to respond 🙂 I love my Systematic Theology book 🙂 I will continue to meditate on these words. It is a definite struggle here on Earth (I do what I do not want to do, like Paul!), but Revelations 22:3 says “No longer will there be any curse,” and so I also look forward to that day when either perhaps we will have our desires fulfilled in heaven, or we will be freed from those pesky desires nagging at us once and for all!

        1. Daisy,

          One thing that is amazing about God is that as we abide in Him and His Spirit floods our souls, He tends to change our desires to match His own. He may not give us things the way we expect Him to or in the timing we want Him to, but what He gives is always better than what we could have ever asked for, in the long run.

          I love you and am sending a big hug to you!!

  7. Hi April. This is a really good piece. I would like to spotlight it tomorrow at ufuomaee.godinterest.org. Thanks for sharing such godly counsel that’s hard to hear.

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I actually stopped reading this blog for quite a while, but continued to receive emails. I felt I arrived as a “peaceful wife”. But I believe God told me not to delete and read this. This post forced me to look at myself beyond my daily duty as wife & mom. I believed the issues that are going on in my marriage were my husband’s fault. How could it be mine since I was being so ‘peaceful’. After considering separation/divorce, I prayed. That was not what I wanted. God revealed to me that I was not living to please Him, but living to please my husband in hopes he would love me how I felt he should lovs me. Developing a perfect marriage, with or without God, was my focus. It completely took my focus off of God. I didn’t trust Him to handle what was wrong in my marriage. I didnt trust Him with anything, not my heart, my kids, nor my husband. So I’m giving up my dreams of perfection, and putting it all in God’s hands. I will depend on Him to fulfill my needs ans desires. Once again thanks to the lady who shared her experience & to you for posting it

    1. Renee,

      I think you just answered Elizabeth’s question!

      This is beautiful!!!!! This is exactly where we must be spiritually to begin this journey and to truly make it all about God and what He wants.

      Thank you for sharing!!! 🙂 I pray for God to continue this good work in you and your family for His greatest glory, my dear sister!

  9. One more thing,
    The fact that God is using you to minister to others regardless of how you feel is a confirmation this is His power working through you, and not your own. You are becoming broken bread and poured-out wine for your Lord. Flowers must be crushed before their fragrance can be released. The Lord is with you, Elizabeth.

  10. This is an important point for single women.The desire to be married…If only I was married, THEN: then I won’t be alone anymore, then someone will think I’m special, then-then-then. THEN I will be happy!
    Married women do the same thing…If only my husband told me I was pretty, if only my husband came home and talked to me, if only my husband would be affectionate outside the bedroom THEN: then I would be happy!
    We cannot make a husband into an idol. We cannot make a “good” marriage into an idol, thinking IF ONLY I can get THAT, THEN I will be happy, then I will have everything I need.
    What April is trying to teach us is to put Jesus first, and find fulfillment only in Him…THEN we can be peaceful (happy) no matter the circumstances, single, married, widowed, divorced, rich, poor, unemployed. When we let go of trying to find happiness through our false idols, we gain true life through Jesus.”Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”

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