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.