Happy Singles Awareness Day! I usually post around Valentine's Day every year about how excited and optimistic I am for the future, anticipating the day when God sends me a husband. This year, though, I'm not nearly as pressed as I used to be, and I’ve been digging a little deeper to really figure out why I want to be married. I'll admit, I'm a hopeless romantic, but I don't just want a nice wedding. I want a marriage that lasts. And if you don't know your "why" before you say "I do," you'll be tempted to say "I don't" when times get tough. In marriage, the "yes" should be unconditional and ongoing. One huge reason I desire to be married is because I believe that intimate companionship is important. Not only that, but there’s purpose attached to marriage. Marriage is a ministry. We are all called to minister in different ways, but regardless of where a person is called to serve, every ministry begins in the home. The first person to reap the benefits of my close relationship with God is myself; the second person who reaps those benefits is my spouse. As God pours into me, I become better equipped to pour into my husband, and vice versa. The way we pour into each other will affect how we pour into our children. Our pour into them will affect how they pour into the people in their world, and before we know it, our marriage ministry will have global impact.
With that being said, before I settle down, I have to make sure I’m not settling. There is a difference. Let’s go apple picking.
|Image source: Trip Advisor|
Personally, I love the juicy crispness of a perfectly ripe apple—but it wasn’t until recently that I considered what happens between the time it’s picked off the tree and the first bite. Before it lands in the produce section at the local grocery store, it must first be inspected. For example, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, the highest grade of apple, called U.S. Extra Fancy, must be “mature but not overripe, clean, fairly well formed, free from decay, internal browning, internal breakdown, soft scald, scab, freezing injury, visible water core, and broken skins. The apples are also [deemed to be] free from injury caused by bruises” and so on and so forth before they are approved for sale and consumption. If you read between the lines, this is a whole word!
Apple picking is not a casual task. Single ladies, when you examine the fruitfulness of a man, look closely! Make sure he’s pulled together and well-formed, whatever that looks like to you. I mean, c’mon, sis, you’ve gotta look at him every day! 😂 All jokes aside, though, being “well-formed” on the outside is cool, but the inside is even more important. A wise man once said, “Don’t get so caught up in how they’re formed that you miss what they’re full of” (shoutout to Pastor Keith Battle)! A “grade A” man is mature, but not overbearing, and able to lead well. Look at his heart and make sure it’s not decaying; rotting and breaking down under the weight of his past, self-doubt, and/or malice. Most apple inspectors steer clear of scabs and bruises, but in this case, as humans, we should extend grace. A man can have scabs and bruises and still be considered “grade A.” Scabs and scars indicate that he has healed in some areas and is still healing in others. Just make sure he’s not trying to reopen old wounds. He may have been hurt before, so his water core—his tears—may only be visible to you. If he trusts you enough to be vulnerable with you, you should be honored. In human terms, a “visible water core” is a good thing. It means his heart hasn’t experienced a freezing injury. It may have been broken before, but it’s still warm, which means he has the capacity to give you the love you deserve. Some types of healing can only take place within the marital covenant. God will teach you how to deal with that.
Keep in mind that nobody’s perfect, but it’s very important to choose wisely! The same goes for the fellas. The fruit your future spouse bears is the fruit your future seeds will eat...and what they eat, they will produce. If you need a reminder of how one bad apple spoiled the whole bunch (literally all of mankind), just flip back to the story of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. How do you like them apples?