I will start this blog post right out of the gate with honesty: I did not like this book for the first 4 chapters.
Out of 10 chapters, disliking the first 4 seems like a pretty high number for someone who ended up finishing the book and is now writing a POSITIVE review on it. Let’s just say I had a change of heart.
I met with a mentor of mine my freshman year of college to talk about singleness. She is older than me so I thought it would be helpful to have a conversation with someone who is single in a different stage of life. It isn’t incredibly rare to be a freshman at Calvin College and not have a significant other, but it is more common to be in a relationship than to be single. The feeling of being single in a place that has an incredibly strong dating culture was overwhelming me.
We had a really great conversation and she gave me lots of helpful advice. One of the things she advised that I do was read Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall and Debby Jones. I had really high expectations of this book: I wanted it to cure my crazy desire to be in a relationship. Here is how the book started:
Chapter 1: Lady of Reckless Abandon.
Chapter 2: Lady of Dilligence
Chapter 3: Lady of Faith
Are you seeing the same pattern I did? I thought “What the heck. This book has NOTHING to do with learning how to cope with singleness or effective strategies to help me focus on my relationship with God instead of my lack of a relationship with a boy.” At least not directly. I continued reading in the hope that the woman who told me to read it was right and that it would prove to be helpful.
By chapter 10, I noticed a significant change in my attitude.
The general premise of the book is that being a lady in waiting is NOT at all like sitting around helplessly waiting for Prince Charming to come sweep you off your feet. Sometimes when I talk about this book or recommend it to friends they get frustrated because the idea of being a “lady in waiting” sounds like being a princess at the top of a tower. Jackie and Debby point women to the active ways that we can be preparing ourselves for a Prince – growing in faith, staying on the path of purity, developing pure and undying devotion to Jesus, being secure and content in where we are – attributes that we need to develop if we want to make strong Christian partners.
The preface of the book says “Is this just another book for singles? No! We believe this book is unique because its emphasis is not on a woman’s status (single, married, divorced, or widowed), but on the state of her heart … Lady in Waiting is not about finding the right man, but being the right woman.”
I cannot expect to become the woman God wants me to be by being a lady in waiting in the way the fairytales paint the picture. God made me for so much more than that, and He wants me to become a woman after His own heart. God’s top priority is not giving me what I want, it is making me into who He wants.
Here are a couple of nuggets of applicable truth for my dear friends who are struggling with the wait – I’ve been where you are, I know how you feel – It gets better. (And I am still single!) Hopefully these few quotes will entice you to give the book a try! If you want to talk to someone about the struggles of being single and (maybe) some strategies that could help you cope I would love to chat!
- “A woman who takes the route of Orpah (sensual, logical sight) often invents ways for a ‘chance rendezvou’ with the man of her dreams. You can see her loitering in the very right area that Mr. Right regularly frequents, hoping that he might finally notice her…” (41) Choosing activities and pastimes based on a guy is a huge waste of time and resources. You are not powerful enough to mess up God’s plans. Aka, just because you decide not to go to that one dance, doesn’t mean you messed up your chance of potentially meeting your future husband. Do things that you think are fun but also pleasing to the Lord – if you happen to meet a guy, that’s awesome! (But if not, you will have invested in your future by investing in the interests and passions God has given you.)
- “Wait. Such an assignment is not to cause suffering, but prevent it. Women experience so much needless pain when they run ahead of God’s format. Naomi knew that there may exist an even closer kinsman who would qualify to redeem her and Ruth” (107). This quote could easily get me in trouble. There is a happy medium between locking yourself in a tower, demanding that God bring you a boyfriend and immediately planning the wedding of any guy who is nice to you. Phylicia Masonheimer once told me that the problem comes when girls expect guys to do all the initiation and don’t make any effort on their part. Waiting is trusting that God is in control, but it’s also discerning when God requires effort from us. As ladies in waiting, it’s important for us to be listening for His leading in how we handle our relationships and interactions with guys. If you want to find more about a healthy balance between acting and waiting, read the book!
- “Often a single woman’s struggle with contentment can be traced back to her fantasies more than to her frustrating circumstances. Just think for a moment about three words from 2nd Corinthians 10:5 (KJV): Casting down imaginations. Fantasizing about a future with a guy you have been watching in Sunday school or at work is nothing more than your very active imagination. What should you do when you start daydreaming about a guy you’ve never dated or even formally met? You must take your thoughts to Jesus and leave them in His capable hands” (112) Don’t try to tell me you don’t ever fantasize about boys because it’s probably happened to you at least once. Think about the source of these fantasies and ask God to help you give them to Him. I located the source of mine – chick flicks. They make me unhappy and I don’t watch them anymore. (more on that later 😉 )
If you are a lady in waiting like me, thank God for this season of your life. He may surprise you sooner rather than later and bring you to a different season. But He might not. Part of being a lady in waiting is trusting in God’s plan. Not that He will carry out your plan, but that He will show you His perfect plan.
Photo Credit: Olivia Heath Photography