“Dear Jesus, when I grow up, please help me to find my prince. Amen.” This was my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter’s prayer at lunch today. I laughed because she had insisted on coming to the table decked out in her “most beautiful” princess gown to eat her macaroni and cheese (not exactly food fit for royalty!).
But then I stopped to think about her words. I was actually pretty pleased that she was already praying for her “prince.” I’ll be the first to admit that I met several frogs along the way in my own search for true love (I think there were some snakes involved, too!). My husband can attest to the fact that I was quite a difficult one to catch once he came along! But boy am I glad that God had my prince ready and waiting for me!
When I was a teenager, I was quite boy-crazy, eager to find someone who would confirm that I was, indeed, a beautiful girl. Because I didn’t guard my heart, I met some real losers along the way, and I lost my way for awhile. I was so convinced that I was worthless simply because I didn’t have a boyfriend (and my two beautiful sisters did) that I failed to see my worth in Christ. I look back over my youth with a heavy heart because I lost those years to what the world values instead of seeking what God values.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” – Prov. 4:23.
During this difficult time in my growing-up years, my dad wrote me a letter because, well, it was pretty hard to talk to me during this time! I ran across it not long ago when I was looking through some old letters and pictures. My dad listed some things that I should be looking for in a husband. At the top of the list were that he was godly and that he respected me. I wish now that I had paid attention to that list (thanks, Dad!). I plan on passing that along to Hannah when she is getting ready to date.
I heard someone say once that when she was reaching the “dating age,” she made her own list of qualities that she wanted in a husband. Then she spent years praying over those qualities (and, I am sure, adjusting them as she got older). I can’t remember exactly who it was, but I am pretty sure it was a pastor’s wife. She had met and married the man of her dreams, and they were able to serve the Lord together.
I wonder if we parents (especially we moms) are making a big deal out of our own daughter’s worth. So many parents are afraid to sit down and discuss dating with their children that they don’t even want to discuss what type of a person makes a good companion! My kids are not in their teen years yet, but I hope that I will be strong in discussing this topic with them. Too many parents are looking past the dating years, assuming that their children won’t marry the person they are dating at 14, 15, or 16. But as the sister of two siblings who married their high school sweethearts, let me tell you that each person that comes into your child’s life is important!
The truth is that it’s not just the world that pushes us to devalue ourselves. Sometimes the Christian community is guilty of this as well. I went to a Christian college, and the ongoing joke is that many women are there to get their “Mrs. degree.” As Christian women, we are often encouraged to grow up, go to college, get married, and start a family right away. But what if God has other plans? I think the questions on many girls’ minds is this: What if I don’t get married right after college? What will everyone think?
I was recently reminded about the value that God places on being single. We have a young lady in our church who is out of college, not in a relationship, and serving the Lord on her own! Rather than submitting to what everyone else thought should be her course in life, this girl has given all of her love to the Lord and dedicated her life to serving Him as a full-time missionary. I have to admit that after hearing her testimony, I was a little jealous of her single status! (Don’t get me wrong – I love my husband and children very, very much. It was just a reminder of what possibilities are available when you are single!)
As women, we are constantly pointed to Proverbs 31 as the key to being godly women. Of course, we are driven to becoming godly wives. Shouldn’t that be our desired status? I don’t know about you, but that chapter intimidates me! I am NOT a morning person, and I struggle with getting up early (although I have recently committed myself to getting up before my family). I wouldn’t know the first thing about “selecting wool and flax,” and I am DEFINITELY not good with my hands (just ask my mother who tried her very best to teach me how to sew!). Oftentimes, we try to compare ourselves with the Proverbs 31 woman, forgetting that we have our own strengths and weaknesses that we can use for the Lord. God has made each of us to be different, and I think that the key truth to being the Proverbs 31 woman is found in verse 30 – “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” It doesn’t say that the wife who fears the Lord is to be praised! Single or married – each of us women needs to be striving to fear the Lord.
Just like most moms, I am praying that some day Hannah’s prince will come. I pray every day that Hannah (and Ephraim, too) will one day find a godly spouse and that she won’t put herself through the unnecessary hardships that I did. But what if God has something else planned for her? What if He has called her to be a single missionary? Will I rejoice in that, too? I pray that I will.
I am starting now to teach Hannah that her beauty isn’t skin-deep. When she asks me if she looks beautiful, I try to remember to ask her how she has been behaving. Is she kind to Brother? Is she obeying Mommy and Daddy? Does she love Jesus? Then she is, indeed, my beautiful girl! One day her prince MAY come, but I don’t want her focusing on a false idea of Prince Charming. I want her looking to her Savior and becoming the princess that God wants His child to be.