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New Horizons

Missionary Dating


Hi Sis,

My heart is heavy. I know Kelly has already told you she’s dating an unbeliever, Ryan. Maybe we should have encouraged her to stay home longer and stick with the part-time jobs. I feel like we’ve failed her somehow.

What should I do? She doesn’t even want to listen to me.

Love, Rose

*     *     *     *     *


Dear Rose,

Pray, pray, pray! Get those knees on the floor. Our first instinct as moms is to “do” something, but for now, just pray.

This is not about how you failed. All of us could have been better parents. We struggle, we try, we teach them as best we can—and all along God is working both through us and in spite of us.

Pray for the Lord to protect and guide Kelly. Pray for Kelly’s church to be faithful in pursuing and reaching out to her. Pray for the right words to say if you get an opening for discussion.

Praying will remind you that this is in the Lord’s hands. Your faith is being shaped in this crucible; you are learning to wait on God and trust him.

Love, June

*     *     *     *     *


Dear Aunt June,

I guess I haven’t written in a long time. I didn’t know what to say. Well, Mrs. Hillston, a widow at church, stopped Ryan and me downtown on our lunch break one day. She lives downtown, and asked me over for lunch the next day.

She was really sweet. She fixed me an incredible lunch with homemade bread and told me about working as a telephone operator before she got married. But then it got awkward. Over coffee after lunch, she started asking who that boy was that she’d seen me with. She also asked why she hadn’t seen me in church much lately.

So ... I’ve been going to church. But I’m still dating Ryan. Maybe I could lead him to Christ. It’s not like we’re supposed to cut ourselves off from the world; we’re supposed to be salt and light, right?


*     *     *     *     *


Dear Kelly,

Thank you so much for writing. You’re talking about what we used to call “missionary dating,” and it’s dangerous business, hon. Yes, there are times when it works out. But often it doesn’t. Three women in our church attend alone, or with only their children, because they married men who did not love the Lord and have never changed. The trials they face are fierce: pressure from their husbands, questions from their children about why church is so important if Daddy doesn’t go. I’m convinced that people can be lonely in such marriages.

And it would be even worse if you left the church yourself. It doesn’t necessarily happen overnight. It can happen through continual compromises over time, as you drift further and further from the Lord. You already know how easy it is to stop attending for a time.

True, the Bible tells us to be salt and light. But there’s a difference between influencing the world and joining forces with it. The Lord warns us not to be “unequally yoked” because he loves us!

Love, Aunt June

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Dear Aunt June,

Well, the joke’s on me. After all that, Ryan broke up with me! I know you’ll be happy, anyway. Half of me is so mad I can’t stand to look at him. But I’ll admit that I had my ears open in church yesterday in a different way. God does love us better than some loser of a guy.


*     *     *     *     *


Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry. I know it hurts you to go through this. Please don’t grow bitter. Have you considered that you might find solace for your loneliness in your church, even though almost everyone, as you once told me, is “married with four kids”? Why don’t you start attending the women’s group? As you develop friendships and your own relationship with God grows, some of the women might be able to introduce you to godly young men. Give it time. See what the Lord has in store for you.

Your note was short, but I was encouraged to hear that the Lord opened your ears in church. Call out to him! I am praying for you daily. Write or call anytime. I love you, and more than that, the Lord loves you. He never forsakes us. That’s more real than anything you will ever pursue in this world.

Love, Aunt June

This is the last in a series of fictitious e-mail exchanges written by three women in the OPC. New Horizons, July-August 2012.

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