Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Surrendering My Timetable

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Leslie Basham: What young girl hasn't dreamed of finding Mr. Right? Here's Amy Baker.

Amy Baker: I was going to grow up; I was going to go to school and when I finished school, I was going to get married. In my mind it was just, well, that's what you do, I never gave any real thought what would bring glory and honor to God.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, July 5. Here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I got an e-mail not too long ago from a listener who said: "Sometimes I feel a little left out when you make a lot of applications to women who are married. I'm single and I wish that you would say more things to singles."

Well, let me remind you that I am single and have never married. I'm now in my mid-forties so I really do have a heart for ministering encouragement to women who are dealing with issues related to singleness.

It's amazing how our heart issues are so similar--married women, single women, women in every season of life. When it comes down to the issues of walking with God, relationships and dealing with life here on this fallen planet, those issues can be pretty similar.

But this week we do want to focus on the issue of singleness and some of the challenges and blessings and opportunities that go with singleness. Now let me encourage you, don't tune us out just because you're married because what we're going to say will have many applications to married women as well.

Chances are, if you're married, you have friends who are single or "single again." And I think you'll hear some things this week that will help you minister grace and encouragement to the single friends in your life.


Our guest this week is Amy Baker. Amy has a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from Purdue University. For 12 years she served as a counselor and social worker at the Baptist Children's Home in Indiana.

For the last dozen years or so she's been counseling at the Faith Baptist Counseling Ministries in Lafayette, Indiana. Amy, thank you so much for joining us on Revive Our Hearts today.

Amy Baker: It's my pleasure Nancy, I'm glad to be here.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Amy, the Lord has given you such a great ministry of encouraging women and helping women, counseling their hearts according to the Word of God.

One of the things I like about the ministry that you have been associated with is that it is so Word-centered and Christ-centered. And you know that if we really want to help people get their problem solved, we have to get them to the Wonderful Counselor.

Amy Baker: Exactly. As I think about our topic today which is singleness, I did that for 12 years as a single person. God does not limit us because of our marital state.

We have a great God who wants to use us to bring glory and honor to Himself. There are opportunities to do that in whatever state we happen to be in, whether we're single or married.

I'm very grateful for the opportunities I had as a single person just to do some of those things I may not have gotten to do if I had been married and had other priorities at the time.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So, you're letting us in on a little bit of your story which I appreciate. You're in your mid-forties"¦

Amy Baker: You're going to make me admit that.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I am, yes. Well, I'm in my mid-forties and loving it, so I assume you are as well.

But you've only been married for about a year and a half so that means you had a lot of years as a single woman.

Amy Baker: You know, when you think about singleness, often that can be a topic that is a struggle. I was forty-two when I got married and I was taught early on by a very wise pastor that if you can't be content being single, you're not going to be content being married.

That was so helpful to me because when I was tempted to struggle his wisdom would come to my mind. "Amy, if you're not happy now, marriage isn't going to solve that. It's a heart issue."

It is not anything that changing your circumstances is going to make any different. You need to be examining your heart and seeing what your desires are and working on those. It's not simply changing the circumstances that's going to make a difference.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And that is so important because we tend to think: If only. If only this would change, then I would be happier. And singles think If only Mr. Right would come along, then I would be happier. And what do married women think?

Amy Baker: They think, If only my husband were different, then I could be happier or if only this would happen, if only I had children. We can go through life thinking that way and missing the opportunities that we have to bring glory and honor to God because we're waiting for something different to happen.

God put us here to glorify Him. Isaiah talks about that--that He created us for that very purpose. I think when we start thinking that way and asking ourselves what we need to be doing to glorify God right now that it changes the whole focus and it doesn't become singleness or married anymore.

It's living life panting after and desiring God. What can I be doing to bring glory and honor to His name and pleasing Him and growing in Christlikeness.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now, we've just hit on two very important things here that apply whether married or single. The first is if you're not content as a single woman, you won't be content as a married woman.

We could say the opposite would be true as well. If a married woman isn't content or can't find contentment in Christ in her marriage, then leaving that marriage and becoming a single woman again is not really going to solve her issues.

Amy Baker: Exactly. It's not. You know, I grew up thinking that I was going to grow up; I was going to go to school and when I finished school, I was going to get married.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And you were a Christian, you had come to trust Christ.

Amy Baker: I wasn't thinking about this, apart from being a Christian, but in that I never really gave any real thought about what would bring glory and honor to God.

And I'm so thankful that God didn't allow my plans to be fulfilled on my timetable because if He had, I would never have been to the places that He used to teach me some of the truths that I needed to learn.

And one of the truths is that I was put here for His glory and honor. I was a believer but I didn't really fully understand that. So I'm making plans by looking at everyone else in our culture. "That sounds like a good plan to me. Let's do that."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And you just assumed that it would be marriage and a family at a much earlier time than it turned out to be.

Amy Baker: Yes. But I went through school, through high school, went to college, finished college and guess what. I was still single.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Did that ever scare you or frustrate you? Did you ever wonder if God's timetable was quite right?

Amy Baker: Well, I think I just assumed it must be just around the corner. I went on to grad school and finished grad school and guess what? I was still single--finished my twenties, turned thirty, still single, finished my thirties, turned forty. And I was still single.

I'm so glad God's ways are so much higher than our ways. His thoughts are so much higher than our thoughts.

You know, if I had gotten married on my timetable, I would not have known some of the things that God taught me during that time.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Such as?

Amy Baker: For example, I would not have understood that marriage is not about getting more in life. When I was in high school, I think I foolishly made up a list of things I would like in a husband.

And I say foolish, not necessarily because it's wrong to think about godly character qualities that one wants in one's life but because my whole focus was in that: "What can I get? Here's my list of the things that I want."

And that's not God's plan for marriage at all. Nor is it God's plan for singleness. But I had this list and here are the things that I thought that I wanted in a marriage and if I had gotten married before I learned those things one of two things would have happened.

One, I would have been moderately happy. I would have been married but I probably would have never had the thirst or the desire to please God because God used my singleness to get me to the place to learn that, to teach me that.

And so I would have been complacent. And at the end of my life, when I stood before God and had to give an account for my life, I would have been very, very disappointed at the account I would have had to give.

I would have gone through life being happy with my circumstances and never would have thought about: Life is not about me and getting what I want out of life. Life is about bringing glory and honor to God.

One other possibility is, if I had gotten married according to my timetable, is that I would have been miserable and I would have made my husband miserable.

I didn't understand it at that point. It's not about getting. You enter a relationship and it's all about what you can get from it and it's doomed to failure. You've doomed it.

And I probably would have been miserable. And I'm sure I would have made the man I married very miserable because who wants to be married to a woman who's focusing on what she can get?

I'm so thankful that God did not allow me to get married on my timetable. He used that time to teach me that life, not just singleness, not just marriage but life is about serving Him and giving and seeking to become more like Christ.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You know, as you talk about God's timetable and waiting for God's timetable, Amy, I'm thinking about that verse in Isaiah 28 [:16]. It says: "Whoever believes will not be in haste."

In that context it's talking about Jesus Christ, the Messiah, who is the cornerstone, the sure foundation. The exhortation there is to believe in Christ, to wait on Him and it says, "The one who believes, the one who stakes his life on God's will and God's sovereign plan and on Christ the Solid Rock, that person will not be in haste."

We want what we want now. We want it quickly. We want to get our plans fulfilled. I think we can get most of what we want earlier than what God would have for us.

But when we get that, we get what the Israelites got when they demanded God fulfill things their way. That was leanness in their soul. So whether you're married or single, the question is first whether you're finding contentment.

Are you finding satisfaction in the state where God has you or are you foolishly thinking some other dream state would make you happier or more content than you are?

Amy has reminded us that if you're not happy where God has you, then you won't be happy in the circumstance that you think will make you happy.

And then this whole challenge to live life for the supreme purpose of bringing glory and honor to God and Amy has challenged us to consider: Whether married or single, am I living for my happiness or am I living for the glory and honor of God.

And then the question becomes: Lord, in this season of my life, in these circumstances right where You have me, how could I make You look good? How could I, as John Wesley said, "Give the world the right opinion of God?" How can my life bring You glory and honor?

And once you settle the fact that that is the question that matters supremely to you, then you will be able to find contentment and purpose and even fulfillment in the place where God has you.

Leslie Basham: That was Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She's been talking with Amy Baker about glorifying God in marriage or in singleness. Maybe you've been challenged to think in some new ways about your relationships.

If so, would you keep thinking about this topic. Nancy's written a booklet called Singled Out For Him. It offers ten practical ways to glorify God in singleness.

You can get a copy for a suggested donation of $5 when you call us at 1-800-569-5959 or order on-line at Revive Our Hearts.com. While you're visiting our Web site, would you let us know what you've been learning in singleness or in marriage?

One woman visited Revive Our Hearts.com and sent us an e-mail. She wrote: "I'm struggling with an evil ex-husband. Every time I think of how unfair I'm being treated, I think of how Christ was treated; but I never thought of it as sharing in His suffering.

The broadcast today has helped me understand how I should keep my eyes off my ex-husband and on Christ.

When you contact us, would you consider helping us reach women just like her. The financial assistance of our listeners allows us to produce this program and call women to freedom, fullness and fruitfulness in Christ.

You can send your gift to Revive Our Hearts.

We can plan for our future but it doesn't always work out the way we want it to. How would God have us handle that? Please join us tomorrow for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Opening Song: "Chapel of Love," Original Rock and Roll Classics, 1996 Sun Entertainment.

 

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.