"Waiting on the Lord" Series
from Virtuous Daughters, February 2017~Volume 16, Number 11
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." I Corinthians 3:1-3
That word, which is the modern counterpart of the Old English “charity” and is often associated in our minds with future marriage and motherhood, is a vital component of our lives now. Particularly as adult daughters in the context of the family and church, love must saturate our speech, our actions, and most importantly, our hearts. Otherwise, our speech is hollow, our actions empty, and our knowledge devoid of meaning.
So, then, what does love look like in the life of the grown daughter?
Of course, each family dynamic varies, and a heart of love will overflow in different ways. But, one fact stands always true: this love must stem from a deep and sincere love for our Savior, Jesus Christ. For me, in the bustle of the activities and responsibilities that are an integral part of the adult daughter’s life, it is easy to forget my first love—whom I am ultimately serving and to whom I ultimately owe my heart. However, as Jesus reminded one Pharisee lawyer, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). I want loving the Lord my God to be my first and foremost aim in life. When I sense discontent, frustration, or any other number of undesirable attitudes mounting in my own heart, it is a signal to me that I am neglecting my relationship with Christ.
How do we practically help this love for Christ to be foremost, and to foster this relationship with Him during our single years? Let’s face it: while our lives now may be very busy, our current activity level will most likely never compare to the needs that will press upon us in later years. Now is the season to especially focus on cultivating a deep and lasting relationship with Christ. For me, making time every morning for unhurried Scripture reading and private prayer is important, as well as special and rich twice-daily devotions with my family; in addition, I also have tried to place importance on personally studying foundational elements of Christianity through trusted Godly authors and teachers. Over the past ten years I have been able to drink deeply from lessons in theology through distance classes offered by a Florida seminary; those have been unspeakably inspirational, influential, and foundational in my love for Christ. My father also has an extensive theological library, through which I have been systematically reading. Every time I immerse myself in these rich truths from the Scriptures, it fires my love for Christ in a new and more vivid way.
When we love Christ wholeheartedly, that love will overflow to others; our family should be the primary priority to which that love overflows. As adult daughters, it is sometimes tempting to share our love with church members, friends, or neighbors first. However, God in His sovereignty has placed us in the immediate vicinity of exactly the people He wishes for us to cherish and love foremost.
In my life personally, I have begun to realize that this decision to love my family must be a proactive one. I may fully intend to invest in my family first, but unless I plan and actively strive to do so, the “cares of the world” will choke out many of those opportunities. Even though I have a brother and father working downtown, another brother in flight school, and a mother and two sisters that minister with their various gifts, I am able to spend daily time with them because we actively strive towards loving each other first—sometimes sacrificing time, sleep, or other activities to do so.
I have much to improve upon in this area, but thus far we have incorporated several routines that have greatly assisted in being able to lovingly connect with and invest in one another. Several siblings and I get up at 4:15 AM several times a week so that we have the opportunity to work out together, and on other days stay up so that we can have family devotions when Dad must come home late from work. We stay connected throughout the day with a family-only text group where we share updates, prayer requests, decisions for evening discussion, or amusing anecdotes. From taking a break in piano practice to help my youngest brother with a flight navigation problem, to planning our schedules so that we have evenings together, these practical and often unglamorous decisions are part of loving each other in priority. To have a family of seven adults that still live in the same household, love Christ and each other dearly, and are the best of friends, is a blessing that I greatly treasure and for which I gladly sacrifice.
Finally, after Christ and our family, our lives as single daughters should abound with love for other brothers and sisters in the faith. “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). Our love for the local church and other believers is a potent indicator of how much we love Christ, and is a powerful evangelistic tool for those around us who do not know Him. That is true also of our love for our family, but it is my experience that it is sometimes more difficult to consistently maintain a loving and open heart towards our family in Christ than it is with our physical family.
For me, a willingness to love other believers in this Christ-like way is key. Every believer is at different points in the sanctification process, and unfortunately the “old man” sometimes resurfaces. These instances often result in wounds and hurt—some of them serious. The first time I was in this situation as a young adult, I realized had two choices: I could either be bitter, withdraw, and refuse to love again as a mode of protecting myself; or, I could forgive “seventy times seven,” realizing that Christ forgave me of so much more, and be willing to continue to stay open and loving towards my brothers and sisters in Christ. Not only did this process involve “love covering a sin,” but I realized that it also involved being willing to love God’s people even if that decision meant future hurt. For a time it was a daily struggle; I continued to stay in the Word, with several special verses that I would visit when bitterness threatened to well up within. Now, in our current assembly, the love and unity amongst the brethren is unparalleled; how I relish these relationships and opportunities to love and serve these precious individuals in Christ! Had I not worked through that difficult time, refused bitterness, and chosen to forgive, it would be impossible to invest in these loving Christian relationships now.
These years of singleness, dear friends, are precious. May we never wait to love, but throw ourselves into loving and serving today: loving first our most dearly-beloved, Christ, and then allowing that love to mature and flow out in abundant and rich blessing into the lives of our physical and spiritual families. May we truly love one another because He first loved us!
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