by Margot Starbuck
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For the four years after my husband left our home, I wasn’t interested in dating. I was grieving, I was caring for my kids, I was hustling at work. And then one day, I was ready.
I was at my son’s junior varsity soccer game, on the back row of a short stack of bleachers, sitting beside a friend named Bryan, a single man about my age. He’d been dating a great woman, whom he’d met at the local library, for about six months. When Bryan’s phone rang, he picked up the call.
“Hey baby,” he said affectionately to the caller.
And that was it.
Those two words.
The thought that went through my head in that moment was, I wouldn’t hate having somebody call me baby. Four hours later I’d created my first dating profile at eHarmony.
If you’re anything like me, your childhood dream for your life was not to do online dating. More often, most of us end up considering the possibility because whatever our “Plan A” was didn’t work out.
Maybe we just never crossed paths with Prince Charming.
Maybe we lost a husband to death.
Or perhaps our marriage ended in a divorce we never saw coming—or one we saw coming for years.
Many of us have lived stories that we would never have chosen if we’d been given the choice. And when we date, the enemy attempts to capitalize off of the absences or losses we’ve endured to lie about who we are.
Because I’d been relinquished for adoption as an infant, and lost both my adoptive father and stepfather to divorce as a girl, I’d learned how to recognize the deceiver’s ugly accusations. For years that lying snake had hissed, “You’re not worth showing up for. You’re not worth sticking around for. You’re not worth knowing. You’re not worth loving.” But in a gracious season of therapy and healing prayer—that lasted much longer than I would have chosen—God spoke transforming truth to my heart to heal those early wounds.
But when my husband left, the naughty voice of the enemy returned. And because God had healed so many of those tender places in my heart, the deceiver had to ramp up his efforts. So that devil badgered, “You are worthless garbage to be discarded.” And while I recognized the deceit, the lie sunk into my deep places.
Predictably, Jesus came to my rescue. In a vision I saw Jesus approach the stinky green plastic garbage buckets alongside my driveway, and reach inside. He pulled out a football-sized armful that turned out to be little baby Margot. Cradling me in his arms, loving me with his gaze, Jesus rescued me from the refuse and affirmed my irrefutable worth. And because I had received what was most true about who I am, I was at last ready to date.
How about you? What I know of the enemy’s predictable schemes is that he capitalizes off of our unique experience to lie about our irrefutable belovedness.
If we haven’t dated much—or at all—the enemy hisses that there’s something wrong with who we are that makes us undateable.
Or if we dated a lot of men, the enemy accuses our hearts that we choose poorly or that we’re not worth keeping around. Sometimes both.
If we watched our friends get married and have children while we remained single, the liar tries to convince us that we don’t deserve the good they’ve received.
If we never knew our father, the deceiver hisses that we’re not worth knowing.
If we’ve been treated poorly by a man we’ve dated, we may not truly believe that we’re worthy of protection and respect.
If we are differently abled, or if we’re different in a multitude of other less obvious ways, Satan whispers that we are not enough.
Wherever you are in your journey, I hope you’ll pause today, grab a journal or notebook, and get quiet with God. Invite the Spirit to guide you as you:
1. Review your personal history of absence and loss.
2. Notice how the enemy has capitalized off of that experience to lie about who you are and what you’re worth.
3. Choose to claim God’s truth that you are irrefutably beloved, asking God to show you particular Scriptures that confirm what is most true about who you are.
Here are a few I’ve found helpful on this journey:
• “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine…Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you.’” (Isaiah 43:1,4)
– God loves me.
• “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
– I belong to God.
• “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” (Psalm 27:10)
– No matter what I face, God’s love for me does not fail.
Beloved sister, when you are dating I want you to begin by claiming the truth that you are God’s beloved. So here’s the manifesto I’m sharing with women as, shoulder to shoulder, we stand firm in what is most true about who we are:
You are God’s beloved.
There’s nothing you can do to be more worthy of love than you already are.
You are accepted, received, and embraced
—in this moment and all others—
by one whose love does not, cannot, fail.
God sees you. God hears you. God knows you. God loves you.
Nothing can separate you from God’s love.
In every moment the voice of Jesus whispers,
“I am the One who is with you and for you.”
Now and forever, you are loved beyond all measure.
Margot Starbuck is the author of The Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating (grab yours at www.grownwomansguide.com) and a bunch of other books. While she’s been an empty nester for about two weeks, she anticipates kids being thrown out of dorms any day and returning home to Durham, North Carolina. Connect with Margot on Facebook or at www.MargotStarbuck.com