Dear Future Husband... #2

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*Okay people, time for the post I've been promising forever. You better read this post here before continuing!!! :)

**I am looking over that post linked above as I write this to see how embarrassing my first letter was and give me a guide to embarrass myself yet again in this letter! Why do I post these, you ask? Well, for one, they're fun. Second off, I have this romantic fantasy that somewhere off in la la land my actual future husband may just stumble across my blog and read this post as it is published. Of course I completely doubt this, but let me dream. And lastly, on a more SERIOUS note, the biggest reason I share these publicly is because as I get older, I am more convinced that it is immensely important for girls to actually think about their futures like this. In a culture full of hooking up and failed relationships, there definitely needs to be a conversation about becoming the types of people we want to be in a relationship and also what to look for in a partner. What I'm looking for might scare you (and him, too, haha), so let's continue already!!!

(And just FYI, I still don't date yet, except I think maybe possibly my parents said I can date when I'm 16? HA, at the time I’m finally getting around to finishing this, I am 16!!! Haha it's irrelevant anyway as I highly doubt anyone will show up for me in a year, but I suppose you never know. Anyway, as a young girl, younger than I am now, I blogged about why not rushing into dating at such a young age is important in a blog post here. And I still stand by that. But I definitely don't think it's a sin to dream, pray, or write to your future husband. So write away and maybe post it online so you can embarrass yourself with me in ten or twenty years or so.:)

-This is coming completely sporadically from my brain with the prompting of some past notes I've wrote at 12:36 am as of right now and is probably not going to be finished tonight, as of June 15, 2018, because Grandma is already whining to me about going to bed. This is going to be wonderful, haha! My brain always comes up with its finest past midnight, so brace yourselves. :)

-Okay, it’s now March 11, 2019 (it will still be later than that when I publish this…), go me, here we go again finishing blog posts I started almost a year ago. Maybe my next letter will be more coordinated. We can only hope. :) And also, time flies. And also, Timeflies is the name of the singers who sing my future wedding song, “All the Way.” <— I discovered this song at a hockey game, and it’s going to be in MY wedding, so don’t steal it from me. ;)

Dear future husband!

Hello! Have I scared you off already with my intro to this post? No, you are going to love this letter, I promise, and you'll want to frame it. ;) I hope you've already read the first letter I wrote to you because I'll be referencing it here throughout. Also, do you know it's my biggest pet peeve in the whole wide world when people don't respond to me? Well now you know the quickest way you'll get divorced, you're welcome!

Ha, maybe I shouldn't already be talking about divorce before I even know who you are? Yeah........................................ I'm sure that hasn’t showed you that I'm wife goals as of right now. Moving on...

My previous letter told you that I think about you all the time, which is still true, of course I do, just like I daydreamed about high school (ha...I bet that sounds like a joke to you) and like I do now with college. I've always found excitement in the future events of life that I have to look forward to. Not the waiting, though. NEVER the waiting. Gosh, I hate waiting for things. Another character flaw I have is that I've always seemed to want to grow up faster, and I don't know if that's a good thing or not because one day I'll probably regret it. But I really do look forward to the days of loving you. Geez, does that sound sappy and too deep? Well, I have no life, you know; I spend my days after school doing this, haha. In all seriousness, though, the closer I get to God, the more I ponder the beauty of what marriage should be. It is supposed to be a symbol of His love for us, you know. I think that's pretty amazing and how He gives us these desires.

Before we continue, I have something very urgent to tell you. Okay, so you know my look alike theory? It's actually not my theory—I just saw it online somewhere—but I have so much evidence to prove it. At the time I wrote my first letter, I had just discovered the first guy to go into the seven look alikes of my one crush that is never going to happen unfortunately. Well good news for you, I found two more! That means there's only four left, so I hope you're one of them! :)

Uh, actually, update from me in March, I’ve found so many hot guys I can’t marry that fit my “type” it’s not even funny. It’s really not; it’s actually quite tragic. But I know you’ll be the best of all, so that gives me hope! :D

Yes, looks are still important to me to the dismay of my grandma, who is always lecturing me about personality over external beauty, haha. You know I'm all about the aesthetics! Apparently when I was a little girl, I threw a fit because I didn't get the gumball I wanted, and my mom had to carry me out of a store "like a football." My guess? The color wasn't pink. That is how I am going to feel if you don't have brown, curly hair or nice muscles. No pressure or anything.

Okay. Don't worry, I'm not expecting you to look like a Calvin Klein model or anything, even though I do have some pictures of one of those in my "Guys" folder on my laptop. I have my own "type" I go for, and seriously, brown curly hair and toned muscles is just about what does it! I've studied the millions of crushes I've had over my sixteen years, and those are very common characteristics. You don't have to be a supermodel to look like that; I have found plenty of everyday people who fit my type. Four to be exact! No, actually, a lot more than that, so I have no worries you’ll be one of them.

Okay so that is going to be phase one of the test in determining if I even go on a date or not, so seriously, if you're reading this, don't sweat it. You fit my type—there's no way I would be marrying you if you didn't. ;) Mom says that my liking guys based on how they look is something I will grow out of? Yeah, I don't think so. I've cared about how my guys look since as long as I can remember; I think that's just a shallow trait I have. ;)

Anyway! Enough about that. Believe it or not, I do have meaningful things to tell you.

I have learned so much since that first letter I wrote you, about what marriage is truly designed for, about what I want ours to portray, and most of all, what God wants and thinks of marriage. What He wants for us. Because sometimes, my feelings and longings for marriage are so intense that I worry it’s become an idol for me. And then I feel guilty, but the guilt still doesn’t cancel out the longing. Then I talked with the people I am closest to and trust their advice about God and my relationship with Him, and I read a lot. And I realized that those desires are human and put there by God Himself. I know marriage can become an idol like any natural desire if it gets put ahead of Him. But here’s the thing: I don’t want a marriage that doesn’t end up leading me closer to Him. All of my dreams, all of my desires, marriage itself, truly, is a reflection of the unconditional, perfect love everybody wants and that God alone provides. The marriage I want is one that is going to be a reflection of that. So how can that desire be bad? It’s not.

Patience for me is another story. I have to trust that God knows what I want and that He’ll provide it when He sees fit and, in the meantime, not make it an obsession or idol of mine. I dream about you and pray for you all the time. I’ve felt called to do that by God for a long time. The key with humans is that we have to have someone to love us and someone else to love, which is not a bad thing; it’s precisely how God wired us. When I think of you, I think of how God is making me for you, and He’s making you for me. I’m a rather passionate, intense person, and I want my love for you and our love for each other to be the same. I want to go all out because life is short, but one of the greatest gifts is that partnership and bond that God has put in lots of people to have. I don’t want to be lazy. Marriage is a gift that should be treasured and invested in, like the way I invest in writing or a career and even more so than that because we’re talking about loving another person, the person God has trusted me with to love and respect—YOU.

Life is hard, but what a gift it is to do life with someone who understands you, who you can connect with deeply about the meaningful things and work with together to overcome struggles. I’ve been blessed to get a good taste of what that’s like with my own family, but I want it with you, too, and I want our struggles to always drive us to be better, to chase after God harder, to love each other deeper. That’s how He designed it!

And this love is possible no matter who you are, what you’ve done, or anything. If you know God, and I know you will, then I know you’ll come to grasp this, and what a beautiful thing that is. I pray for you to make good choices, wherever you are right now, but I understand that sometimes making bad choices is what can bring you to your knees and see your need for Jesus, so if that’s what it takes for you, I won’t hold that against you. As long as you end up learning how to treat a girl! And learning how to treat a girl is only found through loving God. You can’t go by what the world says to do because the world doesn’t have a clue about mature, deep love that everyone craves but doesn’t know how to give. That comes only from knowing God. And I pray that you will know Him and love Him and that we can live and do life together to please Him. It’s the best way possible to live and has given me so much joy, even when I do feel utterly alone. So I cannot wait to share that with you. And we’re going to hockey games, I hope! I’m still praying you’re a hockey player, so if everything works out, hopefully I’ll be watching you. ;)

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I cannot tell you how lonely I feel sometimes or how much I long for the true love God has instilled in every person the desire for. And I constantly feel bombarded by lies, that I have to get a guy’s attention by being immodest, that love does not exist in the long term, etc. But none of that is true. True love might be rare, but it’s definitely out there for anyone who is willing to put in the time to cultivate it. And I will. I hope I already have through the way I live. And I pray you do, too. Because that is what I want for us more than anything, is built upon God’s love, which is true love. I can’t wait to see what God will do through our love and change our lives with it. I won’t settle until I know you have this true love because it’s out there. Everyone wants it, but very few will work on their own hearts first and actually get themself into the condition to be able to truly love someone because it’s not easy whatsoever and requires total surrender of oneself to God and to the person they love. But I’ve been praying I can do that.

It’s hard for me to fathom, sometimes, a guy who will be able to love me like that. I’m a complex person—but who isn’t—and I care about my relationships immensely because I know the most beautiful moments in life are surrounded around people, the way God intended. And I don’t just want surface level relationships; those are my biggest pet peeve. I want to stalk you and know everything about you. ;) Haha, seriously though, I want us to be best friends. I want us to care deeply about the other’s past, what we’ve missed with each other, learn and study each other and create a deep bond together in the present, and pray for and want to be apart of the other’s future, no matter where it takes us.

There are days I get really tired of waiting. There are days I doubt if God even wants me to get married. But in the end, I know these are just that, doubts. God has created you for me, I know that for a fact, and He’s working on me right now, to make me for you. Why? Because He’s given me the desire for a bright, raw love that is almost unheard of nowadays. And that comes directly from knowing Him and who He is, which IS love. I’m so very restless in everything, but I have to be careful not to settle. The world will say men of this intensity and maturity don’t exist, but you do. You do because you know Jesus and not just of Him but actually love Him and want to live your life for Him. And that’s the key to any other admirable quality being multiplied in a person.

I have huge dreams, for our marriage, for my life…and I have to believe that God knows all of them and is going to bring them to be in His timing because they all honor Him. I hope you have your own dreams, too, dreams that you trust God with, and I pray for yours, also, regardless of what they are. I pray for you all the time, and it’s weird not knowing who you are or what you’re doing, but I’ve learned again and again how just because I cannot see something doesn’t mean it isn’t out there or God isn’t doing anything. Just the opposite. So I know you’re out there, and I know God is at work on you right now, even if, at the time I write this, you don’t know Him yet. You will, and I know you’ll be so thankful once you do.

I pray for a grand story for us because I’m a writer, so I live for coming up with stories, and I have both realism and idealism at work in my personality, so while I want something practical, I also get a thrill of doing things that sound impossible. Because God can do anything, so I’m asking Him to go all out with you and me, to make both of us bright lights for His glory, and for our story—whatever that yet may be—to also be something beautiful for His glory. God has a unique story for everyone, as people I look up to have told me, and I know that is true for us. We will have our own special story, and since both of us will be pursuing God, there’s no limit to how beautiful that may be.

In fact, when I published my first letter to you, a sweet girl read a part of it and then was kind enough to reach out to me and tell me how she enjoyed my blog and also that she believed God would send me a guy who is the number one follower of my blog. You know I have this dream that you read every single blog post of mine? It’d be wonderful of you to do that. My first post is here, then you can just hit the next link at the bottom and read through my whole blog. And perhaps leave a comment on each one, you know, so I know you actually did it. :)

That may be a little much, but that is how I want our love to be. God went all out for us, so the least we can do is try and go all out for each other. That is marriage at its best, is pure, unconditional love that never gives up on the other person. It’s not about ourselves, so whatever you want me to do, just tell me, and I’ll probably do it. :)

Above all, knowing God will lead us to be the best people we can be, to have that perfect balance of work and play in life because that’s what I truly want, a partner who I can adventure with and go out with and do all sorts of fun things with but also someone who’s mature enough to know when certain types of “fun” are inappropriate and won’t sacrifice morality and serving Jesus for temporary things this world preaches.

I really want to get married. And I definitely don’t want to idolize marriage. Truly, I don’t. But I definitely think it’s a calling of mine or else I wouldn’t be writing this letter. ;) I’ve been boy crazy from a rather young age, and while I definitely have to keep that in check and not make bad choices as a result, that is a good thing when I think about you and preparing to meet you one day, but I do have to learn not to worry or get overwhelmed about things that aren’t here yet. It’s something I’m guilty of, and I want to live in each moment. I know I’ll enjoy every moment of being with you, but they’re not here yet, and no matter how many fits I throw about waiting, they’re not coming any sooner. So I may as well enjoy the season I’m in right now and use this time to prepare, to be shaped by God, to do all the things and fulfill all the dreams He wants me to and has laid on my heart. Right now, for me, that means writing, education, and always developing as a Christian, of course. They may not seem like big things to me right now, but they will be. I know God is going to use those “small” things to guide the rest of my life, mold me into the person I need to be to do all He’s called me to do—including being there for you—and I want to be present in that. I also pray for you, that right now at whatever season you’re in, it will be a season God works on your heart and develops you and prepares you to be the guy He wants you to be and do the things He wants you to do. And I can’t wait to hear about your dreams, goals, and how He does work in your life. Life is about Jesus, and I pray your life will reflect that and mine will, also.

I continue to pray for you, that God will help you develop a strong foundation on Him alone and then bless you with others as well, that He will help you develop good morals, undying hope in Him and His plans for you, a positive, healthy mindset, and passion and ambition to never give up in life. I also pray that He’ll mold you into the man He wants you to be, a leader for His glory, because I truly look forward to following your lead. Though I consider myself a pretty independent person, dependency has its place in life, and contrary to what the world says (there are two extremes), you can (and should!) depend on certain people—you being one of them for me—but the world also goes to the other extreme and makes dependence on another person everything, like you can’t survive without them. That’s not true, but I definitely can’t wait to have you in my life and have that godly dependence on each other that is healthy in the bond of marriage. So please take the best cares of me; even though I’m a moody drama queen sometimes, having someone secure enough in his walk with God means everything to me, and I’ll be forever grateful for your leadership, guidance, reassurance, and wisdom you help me with.

Patience, of course, is not one of my strong suits, and in the waiting I tend to doubt everything about my life, including if you even exist. But God has shown me time and again how He provides when I just let go and let Him. I know when His timing says it’s right, our love and our story will be beautiful. I won’t know quite how my prayers and these letters will affect you until God brings it altogether, but I know He will because when He calls us to do things like this, there’s always a reason and a purpose. I still feel lonely at times, and I still get upset with life. I’m learning that’s okay. I’m learning it’s all part of the process of becoming more mature, of being ready to handle things for the future, of being stronger in Christ. And I pray He will help you with this, too.

I pray you talk to Him, too. Constantly. I have no way of knowing where you happen to be at in your life right now, but the sooner you can find Jesus, the better. Regardless, however old you are when you read this or find this, I hope you will not wait any longer in surrendering your life to Him. He loves you so much, more than I ever could, and that relationship with Him is what will define your life in the best ways possible, more than you can imagine. I know because I’ve been there, and the journey I’m walking with Him is amazing. He wants that with you, too, and so do I, and I’m not marrying you if you don’t have Him, so then there’s that. ;) Haha but really. I wouldn’t emphasize it as highly as I do if I thought it wasn’t important and going to be for your best. God is literally who we're made for, and then marriage is a reflection of that, a gift He gives out of His love for us.

Also, there is something important you should know: take me shopping. Like I literally need you to, there’s no way our relationship can thrive without this. I even read an article about things husbands can do for their wives to improve their marriage, and this is actually on it. And it says it should be for “fun things”—GROCERY SHOPPING SUCKS AND WILL NOT CUT IT. And it’s not about being practical, like my mother thinks. You don’t go shopping for what you need, you go for what you WANT. The article also says you should be happy while doing this and flirt with me and don’t even worry about the money. That would literally make my life and our marriage. That’s all it takes for me. Yep, just write me a check and call it good. :’)

As I wrap this up, there actually is another personal letter I wrote you after a hockey game one night. You’ll get that when we meet, too, but here is the key points I want you to know from it: “I think about you and dream about you all the time. I need to get better at praying about you, though, I’ll admit. As awesome as I’m sure you are, God is always going to be my first love, and I don’t want to be obsessed with you. I don’t want you to be obsessed with me, either. I pray we’re passionate about each other and passionate about loving and caring for each other, but I pray that beyond and above that our hearts are always putting God first. Life is only rich with Him. Do you know that? I’m praying you will. Right now.”

By the way, patience was as much a struggle for me when I wrote that at 14 as it is for me now….

I’m going to unapologetically have high standards for you. I want you to have them for me, too, because I want us to constantly strive to be the best we can be for God’s glory. I’m not saying we have to try and earn each other’s love or God’s by being good (that’s totally not the case!), but our love should be expressed for each and for God by the way we live our lives.

You’ll get a lot more when we meet, so this is just a summary while you’re waiting. I sincerely hope you’re better at that than me. Do you know there really are people who are patient in the world? I find it hard to believe, but there really are. I need those people in my life. But if you’re not… It’s fine, we can just cry together about waiting for everything. ;)

I always like to include a little blurb about what I’m doing with my life right now, and I wish I had some amazing things to tell you, but God makes me wait for literally everything. :) That’s where we’re at, but it’s fine because I know the best is yet to come from Him. Including you, awe. <3 I’m almost done with my sophomore year of high school—still crazy to believe, as I can still remember driver’s ed from the fall and how forever ago that feels now—but that’s okay. I’m ready for summer so I can continue to spend my entire life on the internet writing things like this! I am about 3/5 of the way through with my second novel, I have actually been leaving my blog design alone because unfortunately I don’t have time to mess with it every day like I did when I was 12, and that’s about it. I spend too much time shopping and at hockey games, but without those, my mental health would be nearly gone, so it’s all good. They’re God’s gifts to me to survive the other work and grind of life. :)

In the meantime, I am going to keep dreaming and dying without you. Literally. There is this song called “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri, and it’s really good and we should have it at our wedding or something, but this one lyric in particular says, “I have died everyday waiting for you.” Is that not literally me. Because I have no patience so everyday without you really is a struggle for me and is slowly killing me. :)

I still love pink. I love sparkles. I am going to pinkify and sparklify our house. Oh my gosh, I had such an awkward conversation with my mom about this when we walked into a certain store… You’ll have to remind me to tell you about it. We still are having a chandelier in every room. I don’t have much decided about our house as of yet, but the chandeliers are set in stone. There’s also this adorable ruffly bright pink comforter I found on Macy’s about a month ago, but don’t worry, I think I’m going to have it in my dorm room one day instead…because I’m sure there’s nothing you’d love more than a neon pink ruffly comforter to sleep under, am I right?! :)

Waiting really does kill me, though, but God is surely helping me with it! Every time, though, that I’m at a hockey game, or I’m shopping, or I’m bored in school…I always think about you and pray for you. It really is a beautiful thing, to marry the person God has for you, and I long for it quite a lot. Probably more than I should for the given time and that’s why waiting is killing me, but nonetheless, I can’t wait to meet you, pray with you, do life with you and love God with you. :) I have a tendency to make everything I write a book, which is fine for my career, but for everyone else’s sake I better cut this off here, though I literally could write you a book. I’ll probably put you in one of my books, so you better treat me like the angel I am!

With all the love God has put in me for you,

Your future wife, Ashlee

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Why Kids My Age Do NOT Need to Date

I am in awe at how many kids my age (I'm thirteen) and under "date". I guess I shouldn't be because that's the world for ya, but WOW. And I've talked to a lot of people about this. I'm like, "Why do you want to date so young?" I think I know why they do it - to fit in and fill their God void. But I don't think it's okay. I'm a firm believer that if you know you're not going to marry your boyfriend/girlfriend, why would you date them? Why would you date someone if it's not going to go anywhere?

I wondered if writing about this topic would be a bad idea, if maybe I was making too big of a deal out of it. At first I thought maybe, they're just being kids, whatever, it's their life. And I thought that maybe it wouldn't hurt anything if they just want to have these petty little relationships. But finally I came to the conclusion that I do believe dating at such a young age can teach us dangerous things, so I am going to write about it. And offend a lot of people. Here we go.

Also, believe it or not, in fourth grade, I had a "boyfriend". For like, two days. He was a nice boy, but it was just a friendship and really ridiculous to be honest. I don't even think I told my parents because nothing happened. I'll probably be grounded now. But see, I know - and I've witnessed the failed relationships of my peers - so I want to first tell you why kids my age (and under - especially those under!) shouldn't date right now. I'll give you 5 reasons.

1. We don't know how to be in a true relationship.

Let's face it, guys: kids my age are full of themselves, especially in the culture we live in now. We just want a relationship to make ourselves feel good. We have no idea what true love really is. Do you want to know what true love is?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
— 1 Corinthians 13:4-6 NIV

I think all of us are disqualified. Does that mean you can never expect your partner to make you happy? Not necessarily. For more on that, read this letter I wrote to my future husband. It talks about happiness, relationships, and where God fits into that.

But, kids my age, come on. We all know why we date. It does not envy? How many times do we look to our peers and THEIR relationships? It is not self-seeking? I think at this age, we want a boyfriend to tell us pretty little sayings and make us our #wcw or #mcm on Instagram.

A true, God honoring relationship is one where you put the needs of your partner before your own (Philippians 2:3-4), and it should be like that with all of the people in our lives.

2. They're fake, and we're just wanting to fit in.

Most of these relationships are fake. Not only are relationships at this age meant to make us feel good, but kids my age will sometimes date someone they don't even really like, but they will date them just to have somebody...!! And why is THAT? Because their friends are doing it. Because that's what's popular. But the Bible has something to say about that, too.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
— Romans 12:2 NIV

It says not to conform to the pattern of this world. Do you know what that means? It means to be like something, to comply to certain rules or standards, etc. And here we read that we are not to be like the world, to comply to the standards of this world. That goes for our dating life. I am literally almost to the point where if the society tells you to do something, do the opposite. I'm almost there. I have yet to see something where I wouldn't say that.

Also, this verse tells us about God's will--His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2). We've already established true love and how we need to love others at #1.

3. We're not trusting God's plan.

A lot of kids want a relationship for a sense of security, because they're stressed they won't find a partner. Just relax! Trust in God and His good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Be patient! You're not getting married at thirteen. Trust that God will provide for you, and He will (Philippians 4:19). If you have a desire to get married, He knows that, and He does care about your desires, but you have to seek Him first. Look at this verse:

Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
— Psalm 37:4 ESV

Know God first. This doesn't necessarily mean that if you are seeking Him you'll get everything you want, but if you're seeking Him, you'll know Him more and more, you'll know He's all you need.

Don't rush His plans or His timing. Work on knowing Him now so that one day, if you do get married, you will know how to truly love. This leads me to #4.

4. A relationship now distracts us from knowing God.

If we get so obsessed with a dating relationship, we're not pursuing God and His Word right now, and these are the years where we really should be focused on that because that's what guides our life (Psalm 119:105). We should be more concerned how we can love God and serve God.

5. We're not ready.

And you know why we're not ready? Because #1. We don't know what true love is yet. You know why we don't know that? Because #2. We're too worried about fitting in. You know why? Because #3. We've got our eyes on the world and not God's plan. And do you want to know why THAT is? #4. We don't even know God and His plan. We're too busy with distractions. We're NOT READY.

I also think that dating at this age can teach kids my age some things that aren't true and can hurt us later in life. I'll give you 5 more of those.

1. We learn that we need a boyfriend/girlfriend.

No, you don't. All you need is God, and when you recognize that, He will provide for you (Matthew 6:33). What does being in constant relationships since kindergarten tell us? That we NEED a relationship to be happy. No, not necessarily. We do need people, but God alone will make you happy, and He will provide you with the people (Matthew 6:33). But in the meantime, you don't need to have a boyfriend/girlfriend constantly to make you happy. Trust God to do that.

That's another reason I don't date right now. Because I don't need a guy to make me happy. That's not to say I don't want to date eventually. I do hope to get married one day. But right now, my happiness comes from God, and I pray it will if I get married, too.

2. We learn how to fill our God void.

God voids. We all have them. We all fill them with things that aren't God. Some people are worse than others at this, but we all do it. Dating at this age shows us how to fill our God void with people. Instead of reading the Bible, you're texting your boyfriend. Instead of going to church, you're at a sporting event with your girlfriend. You get the idea. And again, we learn to rely on other things to make us happy--the world. And we can't do that (Romans 12:2).

If you are a kid my age and currently in a dating relationship with someone, and the idea of breaking up with them seems like a total nightmare to the point where you can't bring yourself to do it, that's not good. That means dating is your everything. And dating at this age just teaches us that: that we MUST be in a relationship to be happy, to be complete. I don't think so. Devote yourself to God, and He will direct you into good things (Proverbs 3:5-6).

3. We learn to have worldly relationships.

We learn that relationships are about US. We learn they're dedicated to OUR happiness. God's Word has something entirely different to say as we discussed at the beginning of this post.

4. We have another distraction in our distraction-filled society.

It's another thing that will consume your time and your mind. As if we're not already bombarded with distractions in our society such as social media, sports, etc.

5. We're going to be left hurt.

There are the rare cases of fourth graders meeting and getting married (when they're OLDER, of course), but they're rare. Most of these petty relationships we're having now, and even a lot of relationships in high school, don't last. I really think dating at this age is just going to leave you more hurt. It will distract you from the one who gives you happiness, and you will just feel defeated. Kids my age really do get set on these relationships, and I've watched them bawl over breakups and everything. Maybe you'll feel alone some nights when you're single and all of your friends have boyfriends/girlfriends, but that gives you an opportunity to grow closer to God, and that's the most important relationship.

Bonus

Your single years are a gift

And by rushing them... They're going to be gone before we know it. We have works to do RIGHT NOW (Ephesians 2:10). If you get married and want to be in a relationship where you live out this true love we've been talking about, that's going to take a lot of work and a lot of effort. It's worth it, but there's a lot of things that you can't give your attention to as much as you could now. For me, that would be my blog and my writing.

In my latest letter to my future husband, that is what I told him. I told him that while marriage is something I pray will happen for me and something I want to devote my energy to, right now, I'm not rushing things. Because I've got work to do. I didn't really elaborate on what that work is in the letter, but that work is knowing God. This summer, I finished reading the whole Bible. And while I learned a lot, I know there was some stuff I totally did not get. So what am I doing? I'm reading it again. Starting with Genesis. I also got a study Bible, and that is a great tool that's helping me TONS. I remember asking my mom questions like, "Why do I need to know this? Why is this in the Bible?" And now I'm starting to get it.

So here's a list of some of the things I'm working on now that you can too.

  • I'm studying the Bible. I have a confession to make: I think I dreamed my way through the Old Testament. I'm not kidding. My memories of it were three things: lots and lots of instructions, lots of names I couldn't pronounce, and instructions on how to build things. Well, I'm almost done with going through Genesis for the second time now, and there have been a LOT of names I couldn't pronounce, but this study Bible I have breaks things down, and the passages I normally would have been like "Say what?" suddenly have a much deeper meaning to me. Studying the Bible is important. So I want to devote my time to that.
  • Memorize Scripture. I need to start memorizing Scripture because if I only get a few minutes with someone, I want to be able to give them verses along with their references. And on days where I feel down or have a question about something, knowing my Bible is going to be really important. Which leads me to the next thing I do now.
  • Witness. While most kids my age are going and getting involved with dating, I'd rather spend my time telling kids about Jesus. And this is why I need to know verses. You're not too young to be a witness or know God. This is a common excuse I see, but really, now is the time to have a relationship with Jesus because nobody is guaranteed a long life (James 4:14), so don't waste your years now.
  • Pursue your dreams and hobbies. As kids, we don't really have to worry about jobs right now or making a living or being there for a spouse or your kids. So you are blessed with extra time to focus on your hobbies and your dreams. Ask God to show you how you can use your talents and passions to glorify Him right now.
  • Practice true love. Practice what it means to truly love someone. Love your family. Love your friends. Love your church. Love that person you can't stand. Kids my age think love is all about them being loved, but really it's the opposite. Practice loving someone even when you don't feel like it and even when they don't deserve it because that's what Jesus did for us on the cross.

As I know God more and more, I'm reminded that He is truly all I need, and I want more and more of Him. I think marriage is a gift, and like I said, it's something I pray can happen for me one day. But I know that if it doesn't I'll be fine. Because I've got God, the only One who can make me joyful (Psalm 16:11).

And that's why I'm not rushing dating.

We're All on Different Levels

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When I was younger, I thought just because someone was a Christian that they just agreed with all the stuff they should. In today's world, that's far from true. Sometimes this still bugs me a lot, but there's where I have to remember: we're all on different levels in our faith. Here's what I've learned from that.

You have to be a light. Sometimes you can't just tell people things, you have to show them. Believe me, people notice. Don't give up, God will use you.

If the time is right, confront out of love. Confronting without the love is dangerous, and loving without the confronting is, too. You have to find a balance. Pray that God will help you find the right time to confront - He will. Maybe it will be adding a comment to a conversation or sharing your story. He'll let you know.

Leave it to God. Pray to God about the people and their struggles. He's listening, and know that ultimately God will take care of them.

Worry about yourself. You're not perfect either. Ask God to show you the areas YOU need to improve on, and focus on doing that.

Appreciate the person's good qualities. Everyone has them, and if you think they don't, YOU'RE NOT LOOKING HARD ENOUGH. Enjoy those good qualities, too.

Recognize their strength and strong areas. And tell them how much you admire their strength there and what not. How you see life is a choice. How you see people is a choice.

I hope this can be a helpful reminder for you to look for the good in people. You have to trust God, He loves you despite your flaws, and He wants you to do that for others as well.