I had the pleasure of two young ladies come to me recently expressing their joy and frustrations with finding love. I was instantly whisked away to a time when my heart was innocent and got broken often. I remember the joys and frustrations that came with learning how to love and how to make the right decisions when it came to the gentlemen in my life. As these two young ladies squealed over these new beaus, shed a tear over the uncertainty of the future, and got frustrated with not knowing what the guy's true intentions were, my goal was to steer them in a way that would help them make good decisions (certainly better decisions I made during my foolish days) and encourage them to develop solid, Godly relationships.
As I thought about more ways to encourage the girls, God reminded me of two sets of verses He provided for me when I was younger. I remembering clinging to these verses as I struggled through relationships, knowing that God has a plan for me, and that the perfect man was making his way to me. The first verse was the one mentioned above, Proverbs 3:3. I actually wrote this down often in effort to memorize it and remember its truth as I dated guy after guy. The second set of scripture came from Song of Song 3:1-5:
"All night long on my bed
I looked for the one my heart loves;
I looked for him but did not find him.
I will get up now and go about the city,
through its streets and squares;
I will search for the one my heart loves.
So I looked for him but did not find him.
The watchmen found me
as they made their rounds in the city.
'Have you seen the one my heart loves?'
Scarcely had I passed them
when I found the one my heart loves.
I held him and would not let him go
till I had brought him to my mother's house,
to the room of the one who conceived me.
Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you
by the gazelles and by the does of the field:
Do not arouse or awaken love
until it so desires."
Oh those verses. I remember the first time the Lord brought them to me. I remember how well those verses seem to fit my situation, expressed my same desires, and gave me peace about my future love. I don't know how it works for guys, but I know that we women tend to act just like the woman in these verses. We are constantly trying to find the one our hearts love. We are willing to search, and search, and search. We push ourselves to the limit trying to find that perfect person. And if you have found "the one your heart loves", as I have, you know that it just happens. My heart knew almost immediately Joe was the one my soul had been searching for. Those last few verses (which I wrote in bold), resonated with me. "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." If I had met Joe any earlier or any later, our relationship would not have been the same. God had a perfect timing for both of us. We needed our past experiences of dating lemons and dating decent people to develop us into the perfect mate for each other.
One other piece of advice I gave these girls, and one that I pass on to you, is to make a list of attributes. When I was 15, I was on a youth retreat, where the topic of finding a future mate came up. The leaders had us do an activity that stuck with me for a very, very long time. Take a note card. Prayerfully write down attributes of what you want in a future husband (or wife for you dudes reading this). Be honest. Try to stay away from physical attributes, such as hair color. Your tastes may change, or you may cut off a potentially great guy just because he has blond hair instead of red. Just for example sake, here are some of the things I put on my card: "Must have a plan for the future; Must like children; Likes to cook; Has a good relationship with his mother; my daddy likes him." My list had about 20 "must haves", and I thought for sure no guy would ever live up to my standards. Every time I felt a relationship was getting close, I would evaluate my list. If the guy didn't fit the list, I broke it off. I know that sounds harsh (and at times it felt harsh to tell a guy, "sorry, you just don't fit my list"), but it paid off. The "one my heart loves" fit all of the attributes I had. ALL of them. AND he even had a few other great qualities that I didn't realize I wanted in a future husband until I met him. I kept that list in my Bible next to Proverbs 3:3, reminding myself that I needed to remember what was important.
So as Valentine's Day approaches, evaluate your relationships. First, is God your first love? If not, you are truly going to have a hard time finding someone perfect for you. Only GOD can be perfect for you. Once you have that relationship established, you will see how clearly God is setting your path before you. Second, are you dating someone or trying to date someone right now? Make a list. Does he fit it? If he doesn't, don't try to make him fit it. If he does, remember to treat him with respect and treat yourself with respect. Too many women try too hard and end up compromising their dignity. Third, are you taking a break from dating or just can't seem to find anyone right now? If so, don't get frustrated. Everything in this world has a time of rest. Think of it like a beautiful rose bush. It doesn't die every winter; it just rests. And when spring comes around, or when the time is right, it blossoms into such a thing of beauty. Find joy in your days of rest. You would be amazed at how your love finds you when you least expect it. Do not arouse or awaken love until is so desires.
May you find joy in the Lord and true love that brings your heart such happiness!