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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The One With All The Dating

A few nights ago, I sat on the carpeted floor in my black yoga pants, looking down at the thick pages of my sketch book-turned writing notebook.

My french vanilla tea turned cold in the cup beside me.

The meaningful writing session I planned alluded me. I stared down at blank pages, finding myself doodling hearts, chevron patterns, and practicing my signature in big, swoopy letters. It was writer's block - big time. And I needed inspiration. Because, you see, I am putting my 2013 word ("fearless) into practice and taking a leap of faith - I am writing a book. More details to come :) But having your support, my dear and beloved readers, would mean the world to me - and more than that, I covet your prayers. I began the idea for my book last year when I started my blog, mulling it over in my mind and journals, praying over it, asking God to make it clear - should I write it? Fear of failure and uncertainty kept me back until the end of 2012, when I prayerfully made the choice to dive headfirst, fearless, into the writing process. So here I am - excited and working in all my spare time on a project that I hope and desperately pray will mean something to someone - will touch even one girl's life, and will glorify God. I will share more about it soon, but it will be an expanded version of what I share here on this little space - with more of my story and heart... kind of like a coffee date where we talk about life, loving God, chasing dreams, relationships, guys, being brave, and living life as a good girl in a bad girl's world. One of the aspects of the book will focus on dating/waiting/singleness/marriage and living a lifestyle of sexual purity. And at this time, I'm writing the "dating" portion.

And so, as I sat there fidgeting and uninspired, I did what any red-blooded blogger would do - I turned to Instagram. (Although, sometimes we turn to Pinterest. Depends on the mood, right?) I posted this and asked my community of beautiful women to share their experience and wisdom, and their response blew me away! 

Almost 100 comments later, I was overwhelmed (in the very best sense) with these ladies. All ages and life stages, they each brought a unique  "gem" to the table, and I am more than inspired to write now. I was reminded, afresh, that we are NOT alone in our beliefs and convictions. And that living a lifestyle of purity and being a woman who follows and honors God in relationships is a reachable and important thing. 

The waters of dating and relationships can be murky and difficult to navigate. When you're young, the matters of the heart are serious and a sometimes-confusing business. That is why I just must share some of the quotes from these incredible women. I have included a few below, and hope they encourage you in whatever season you are in - single, dating, waiting - and if you're married, maybe there is someone in your life who you can share these things with. We single gals need older women to look up to! I am including the Instagram name of the author of each comment - go look these ladies up! And if you have the time, go read all the comments on my Instagram post.  


Dating Tips and Gems of Advice 

This one's my favorite - 

"Don't date just to date. Date with the intention to marry the man of your dreams. If you just so happen to get married, great. If not, be respectful because that man is someone else's future husband." @kalynrandolph, wife.

"#1 piece of advice: if you don't understand that the Lord is your husband first, you will mistakenly expect your boyfriend/husband to be your god. Boyfriends and husbands make really crappy gods." @leslie_padgett, wife & mama. 

"Don't rush anything!! And don't lower your standards for any guy. They are not worth it!" @livylovedesigns, wife & mama. 

"Don't settle. You deserve to be treated like a princess. The Lord tells us for the husbands to love us like He loves the church :)" @heidi-reimer 

"The Lord should be your filter in all things including relationships. Do not give away anything that belongs to your future husband. That includes much more than intimacy." @engineerswife, wife & mama. 

"...Always seek council from family and friends because they see the big picture when you get lost in emotions." @mommaparrott, wife & mama to 4 under the age of 4! 

"If the guy plays games, he's not the one." @kerrielwilliams, wife & missionary

"Don't fake who you are. It's a lot of back tracking and lies to cover previous lies in the end." @hotmessmommie, wife & mama 

"While dating and building a friendship & possible long-term relationship that could lead to marriage, keep 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 constantly in mind. And ask these questions along the way: Do I believe that he would love me for a lifetime no matter the state of my health, weight & appearance? Or if I experience success or failure? When I'm not at my best or even at my worst? Will he love me the same when times are good as when times are rough? Will he love my children in this way? Will he love me if a time comes when I can't fulfill all his hopes and dreams? And, will I be able to do the same? Is this is character now? Don't think you're going to change him, marry a man who has that character now (or wait for him to grow up before you marry him.)" @candycomingupsnapdragons, wife for almost 30 years & MY mama ;) 

"I would say to be patient. You pursue God and let Him lead someone to pursue you. Your eyes should be so fixed on God that you don't even notice someone is pursuing you until they want to tell you they are." @hejlalys, wife & mama 

"Guard your heart and don't cast your pearls before swine :)" @mplumb2012, wife & mama to two littles. 

"If a relationship does fall apart or fall away it may feel like the end of the world but it's not.  It's God's way of making you into the person you were meant to be and maybe lead you to the person you're meant to be with :)" @mrslester21, wife & mama-to-be 

"The physical aspect of the relationship can wait. Really...don't rush it. When you give yourself away, even a small piece, you can never get it back. You can only give yourself away one time. Yes you will and can be forgiven and marked clean but memories don't go away. It's more than just physical that you give away... It's an emotional piece of your heart that gets given as well." @amandasecor, newlywed. 

"...While you're 'waiting', pray for your future spouse. Pray that they keep pursuing their faith and have a heart for Christ. And work on becoming the person who you're looking for is looking for." @amberinco, mama.


***

Amazing, right? 

Now, it's your turn. 
If you have some pearls of advice and wisdom from your experience dating, 
share your heart in a comment below. We'd love to read it. 
I am planning to write more about dating in upcoming posts, 
and share my heart and perspective on it.
Excited to walk this journey with you, beautiful sisters!
And I hope you leave this post encouraged. 

LOVE to you and you and you.

XO

Erin

26 comments:

  1. Awesome awesome awesome advice! Mine advice would be sort of an echo of what's up there all ready. But it was a lesson I had to learn before the Lord let me meet the man who would be my husband.

    Your identity has to be completely, 100% in Christ before you can be identified as someone's girlfriend or wife. Your satisfaction has to be completely in Christ, before you can ever be satisfied by a boyfriend or husband.

    It took me a while to learn that lesson. But I learned it. And 8 months later met my husband!

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  2. So overjoyed and thrilled for you as your begin your book writing hour journey!

    I will be a reader of the dating advice--

    Xoxo

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  3. I love this :) I was blessed to see that you included what I wrote. Thanks, Erin!!

    I wrote those words because I know what it feels like to no be able to give myself to my husband as just fully his for the first time. No I didn't have sex before I was married, but I did give away a few other things and those are things that I can't get back. Ever. Not only did I take that away from giving to my husband, I took that away from someone else's husband giving to his wife. What we do in all of our relationships affects and will affect so many more than just ourselves. We fail to see that in the moment.

    I admire your journey of purity :) It's beautiful!! Your husband will be blessed one day!! Have a wonderful night, Erin!
    LOVE YOU!

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  4. I cannot express how excited I was over that Instagram post, the responses were great. Erin, it is truly a blessing and encouragement to see you pursue these topics. They mean so much to a girl like me! God is using you in mighty ways!

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  5. Love you and your heart!! I really wish I would have had a friend like you when I was dating. But In glad we are friends now!!!! Xoxo

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  6. What an amazing post! Such great advice and insight. My favorite is the one you highlighted.. the one with shading in a piece of your heart. I love that!

    Happy to have found your blog! I'm excited to follow along and read more!

    michaelandwhitneyweekes.blogspot.com

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  7. Don't settle until you have God's best. Also love God first and more then you do your significant other. Also he has to love God more then he loves you. Don't give away your heart unless you know he is the one .

    If you have sinned against your significant other you first have to forgive yourself. Which is very hard to do. God has already forgiven you. Then ask for forgiveness to your siginificant other. He will still love you for you no matter what.

    And lastly my new favorite verse: 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. (Song of Solomon 2:7 NIV)

    It says it 2 more times as well.

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  8. Awesome advice all around! Beautiful post!

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  9. giiiiiiiiirl! i love this! i am SO excited for this book you're writing. if you're up for sharing sneak peeks you know who to send them to! ;]

    my piece(s) of advice would be: focus on learning how to be single well, much of which includes learning who you are and how you function as a person (emotionally, intellectually, etc.). once you know those things, be rational about whether or not prospective/current boyfriends are marriage material. remember, too: no man is "the one" until you're actually at the altar pledging your life to him.

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  10. I.LOVE.THIS. I see my Instagram comment up there! Its such a great idea to minister to other ladies through this book and your blog! It's an act of fearlessness to step out in faith on such a huge topic! So many young girls today need guidance and advice from others on love, Jesus, and relationships, and by sharing your heart and the comments gathered from others it all ties together so well. I love my husband and the relationship we share because of Jesus, but I adore my Father so much more for creating a man that fits my imperfect piece of the puzzle just as perfectly as one should be paired. I will definitely support your book and share will my all single ladies!PS- I am also a new follower! I just joined blog world and am sharing all the Lord is teaching us in our happily ever after world over at http://lovelaughterhappyeverafter.blogspot.com/ :)

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  12. Love this!!! So brilliant and I will be using all this advice ;) All seriousness though can I preorder your book! I would love to read something like that and am so excited you are working on it :)

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  13. Such a wonderful collection of advice.
    My piece is to be true to yourself and God. Don't change yourself for anyone. You are beautiful because he made you that way. Never give anything in haste that you can't get back.

    I want your book!

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  14. Erin this is so great! I know this community is behind you 100% for your future writing endeavors. I'm SO SO excited to hear more about this book! And this advice was amazing for someone who's still in the dating stage :)

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  15. "I would say to be patient. You pursue God and let Him lead someone to pursue you. Your eyes should be so fixed on God that you don't even notice someone is pursuing you until they want to tell you they are." @hejlalys --> The very story of my love story. This is the best way to go about it :)

    But my piece of advice:
    Learn to fully trust God. Not just with pieces of your life, but with everything! God requires your everything and once you've fully given yourself to Him, your heart won't be so concerned about the next relationship. Instead, it will be so full of Him, you've given Him your everything after all. And after you do that, just wait and see what He decides to bring into your life. If He knows you trust Him, the blessings are abundant :)

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  16. My Hubby and I have been married just shy of 8 months, so it wasn't too long ago that I was dating. Even though I was only 21 when I got married, the road to finding the man God had for me felt very long and many times discouraging. One verse that always helped me gain perspective and have hope is Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."

    This is so true, girls! Keep your eyes on Him! He has the best plans for you. He wants what is best for you!

    I am so thankful that I didn't settle! There are times when I could have, but I didn't. The wait, the tears, the times of feeling like I was alone, the times my heart ached, I can honestly say it was totally worth it! God has blessed me with a man who is more than I ever asked for, better than I could have imagined. I could go on and on about how much I love that guy <3

    Keep your eyes on him, don't settle and enjoy your single life! God has big plans for you <3

    comeplayhouse.blogspot.com

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  17. One more thing... sorry it just hit me. Start praying for your future husband now! I started this when I was about 13 or so. Not only would I pray for him, I'd pray that God would prepare me to be the kind of wife he needs. I also prayed that God would prepare him to be the kind of husband I need. I honestly can see this played out in my marriage now <3

    comeplayhouse.blogspot.com

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  18. Dating.... Aaah.... The more I date the more I hate it.
    Nevertheless... If I had any advise to give, it'd be this: you're not a guy's paper doll. Don't let them make you into their dream girl and don't let them tell you that your expectations are too high. Don't let them pull or push you away from God-fearing parents either. And pray for your future husband... The more you know this man's heart through Jesus, the faster you'll know whether the guy you're dating is him or not.


    I think that's all for now :)
    Grace and peace,
    Sarah Faith
    Www.shewithunveiledface.com

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  19. Erin, I love this post and LOVE that you're writing a book! Even though I'm young and single and have a ton to learn, there are a couple things that have helped me keep the right perspective:

    -Be content NOW. If you aren't content single, you won't be content dating. If you aren't content dating, you won't be content married, and the list continues. Contentment is a heart thing, not a circumstances thing. If discontentment is in your heart, it will come out no matter what your situation is.

    -Wait for the one that will help you love God more. I've learned through trial and error that it is never worth it to date someone who will not point you to Christ daily. If he isn't helping you love God more, he'll wind up making you love God less.

    Can't wait to see what else you come up with! Love you, sweet girl.

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  20. Congrats on starting your book! That's so exciting. The one quote from this that most describes my feelings towards dating is this one: "Don't date just to date. Date with the intention to marry the man of your dreams. If you just so happen to get married, great. If not, be respectful because that man is someone else's future husband." I always use this idea to explain to people why I am almost 18 and have never dated, even though I've been asked many times.

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  21. Hi Sweet friend :) I am so thrilled that your writting a book. I think sharing your testimony is going to be so influental to so many. I have felt drawn to share my story too..but I've yet to start. I'm still praying about that. In regards to dating I would say that the man who truly seeks your heart will pursue you like Christ pursues you. He will always make time for you, and he will treasure every minute he spends by your side. My husband was the first man I ever dated who called me, and wanted to spend time with me everday..even if it was just for a few minutes. When we had chats he always wanted to know more. That's why I am a firm believer that when you meet your husband you will know. Have a wonderful week friend xo

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  22. Be whole on your own. Don't be set on finding your "other half" or your "perfect puzzle piece." Marriage is all about combining two whole lives, not two incomplete ones.

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  23. Wow...fabulous advice. Truly. And one post I'll be bookmarking for the future.
    Also--empathy & prayers & here's a hug & latte for that book you're writing. Hope to hear more about it on this great blog!
    www.justasiam-meghan.blogspot.com

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  24. Love it! Your blog is always a great encouragement!

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  25. excited about your book writing experience. and mine. I'm sorta in stand still mode though. as soon as I feel like I'm ready to write I freeze, thinking I don't have enough to say.... totally need to rely on his grace!

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  26. My best advice is never go beyond the dating limits if it goes means then it leads to some problem.

    New Dating Site

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sweet friends, share your heart.

"kind words are like honey...sweet..and healing.." -proverbs 16:24.

xo.

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