Last weekend, Allen and I celebrated seven months of courtship. It’s a little surreal to think back on our journey and to know that this is my current reality. I’m so grateful to be on this journey with him. The smile that you see now was not here last December going into January. Check out my blog, (I’m 30, Now What) By God’s grace what started off as a shaky year has turned out to be something amazing that is better than anything I would have ever expected, not because I said so, but because that’s what God decided. Before I dive into full gratitude of the season that God has led me to now, let me start with where I came from. Just a little over ten months ago I was just just turning 30 and coming to the realization that many of the things I had imagined for my life at this point such as living out on my own, marriage, kids, owning a house, you know the whole dream life that many of us girls look forward to was not my reality, but more importantly, at that time this dream life seemed to be nowhere in sight. I felt inadequate and slightly even embarrassed to say the least. Even on my worst and most discouraging days that were sometimes accompanied by tears and what seemed to be bouts of self doubt and depression I was still holding on to my faith to know that the journey of abstinence and pursuing God’s best through the lifestyle of Purity W/Style would end in my favor. Whatever and however that looked was totally up to God, but one thing I did know was that my journey did not end there. Thankfully after some conversations with my mentors and God letting me know to snap out of it, get over myself and know that according to His time table for my life I was right on schedule, and had nothing to worry about I soon gained a different and more joyful perspective on life. One that began to see the season of singleness as a true blessing, filled with discovering and living out your individual purpose, having fun, maturing and wisely preparing for the abundant future God has in store for you, me and all of us who are trusting and seeking God’s best..
Courtship is totally different from dating. This journey has developed my attitude, character and has been a huge encouragement to my faith in ways that I have never imagined. Below are the top 3 ways that my life has been impacted through my decision for courtship instead of dating.
- The Path/Direction of Your Relationship Is Clear
This is the first relationship I ever have been in where I clearly understood and have seen consistent actions in line with what has been said and what has been done. The saying is that actions speak louder than words, and in courtship I have seen the fruit and maturity of both. I believe that it first takes a mature individual to know the right path that God has for themselves, and an even more mature individual to know the path for himself, others and be able to lead them both down that path successfully. Within the first two weeks of my boyfriend and I courting I saw through our conversations that he had a clear vision for himself, what he desired out of a relationship and was able to articulate that very well. Not only was I very impressed, but through his clarity I was able to assess if we had the same values and were even heading in the right direction. This one factor has been a foundational building block for how well we have meshed together, and where our relationship is today. Both of us have a passion for God, and a desire to honor him with our lives. One of the most amazing things I have seen throughout the development of our courtship is how we have been able to take that core value that each of us has and encourage each other to live it out together as a couple.
2. You Have More Clarity Because You Keep Your Legs Closed
Man, this has been so HUGE!! Take it from the girl whose relationships used to be centered around sex before my decision for abstinence kicked in 5 years ago. Fighting the battle of maintaining my own purity has been challenging just on my own, but attracting the right type of man with the same values and desires of seeking God’s best through abstinence has seemed to be even more difficult. Let me go ahead and paint this picture for you really quick. In today’s world of dating you are a total weirdo if you would ever even think to mention the term abstinence! Like, what…excuse me? Typically it’s within the first three dates, maybe the first date, as in maybe you don’t even know the person’s full name but clothes are off, and you find that he has slipped inside you. Or maybe, you have slipped inside of her, if you are a guy reading this….. Either way, y’all know exactly what I mean! The dating scene is so scary and ever changing, it seems for the worse these days. Courtship is totally different, THANK GOD! Courtship is pursued on the basis of two individuals, a man and a woman seeking to pursue relationships God’s way. This includes abstinence, i.e. no sex before marriage. This has been a game changer in the most positive ways for my boyfriend and I, not because one of us wants this and is dragging along the other, but because both of us started this relationship desiring the same thing. That was really the game changer. You have to be on the same page in so many areas of your relationship for it to work, but especially in this area. If one person is always trying to find the weak points of the other person and is tempting them to let go of their values, in this case we are talking about sex (intercourse), sexual activities and encounters then you are setting yourself up for failure, and not to mention a lot of unnecessary conflict within your relationship. Conflict that will either lead to one person giving into the others desires, or the relationship will end. You don’t need to be fighting within your own relationship to maintain your values, you will have to do enough of that outside in your everyday life. I’m grateful that because my boyfriend and I had both been pursuing abstinence well before each other came along, that was a already a habit that we had been living out and we are now able to continue on this path together. One of the greatest areas of your relationship that this impacts is your communication. When sex is not in the picture it forces you to learn to communicate and you gain the ability to see things through a clear lens.
3. Encouragement to My Faith & Obedience To This Process
While the other two have been important throughout my courtship journey with Allen thus far, I would say the biggest impact has come in the form of the encouragement to my faith. Next month I will celebrate six years of being on this abstinence journey. While it is a total celebration, it has also been a journey filled with pain, tears, and discovery. A journey whose success was contingent upon my willingness to let go of my will and allow God to strip away all that I had allowed into my life that was not like Him so that I could have the space, time and room to mature into the young woman of God full of passion, purpose and perseverance that I had been created to be. My faith and commitment to this journey even after 5 years is always re-energized especially looking back on who I was and where I was when I started, compared to the transformation that has happened in my life today, I am so grateful that I didn’t abort the process. I’m grateful that I stuck with it on my best and worst days. They always say that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, or that better days are ahead, but when you are in the middle of everything I can be really hard to see the positive in the path ahead. One thing I always would remind myself of whether I was a discouraged puddle of tears or encouraged from my time of worship, journaling or spending time reviewing the vision of my future that God had given me when I said yes to him is this one phrase: that God was not transforming my life to have me settle for less than his best. Although I couldn’t always see it I knew that what he had in my future (whatever or whoever that was) would be better than anything i could ever imagine. God would not set me up to fail and the same is true for all who trust God and take him at His word. In the bible it says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. AMEN” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV).
The bottom line I want to leave you with is that God wants to use our lives for his glory. No matter how it may look. No matter how many days you feel like you are losing the reality is that when you are trusting, seeking and being obedient to God’s plan and path for you, in the end YOU ALWAYS WIN! And, not only that but others can be blessed and encouraged because of your obedience. So, is my courtship journey over…no, but my faith has been encouraged, my prayers are being answered, my desires are being fulfilled and I am becoming exactly who I need to be to take full advantage of the great future God has ahead of me. If you are on a courtship journey I want to encourage you both a couple to continue to keep your eyes focused on Christ together. If you are over the dating scene and thinking of making the decision to start your journey of pursuing a relationship with God and abstinence wholeheartedly take it from someone who has skin in the game that it will be one of the best decisions you can make! Have a question, comment or just want to say hello? Leave a comment below or fill out the Contact Us form.
Btw, have you grabbed your brand apparel yet? Stay encouraged and fashionable by visiting the brand shop at http://puritywithstyle.com/shop/shirts/