Hope Greater Than a Diamond Ring

Someone asked me if I’d write about my journey from “boy-crazy to my man.” (If you haven’t heard, I’m getting married!)

I didn’t respond to this person’s request for a while, because I was hesitant to share my “love story.” Not because I’m not excited. Boy howdy, I am!

It’s just that I remember all too well how I used to ask married and engaged couples, “How did you get together?!” I’d lean in, soaking in every word, listening attentively to learn the secret.

As they’d share the details of their story, my hopes would rise or fall based on how similar my current circumstances were to theirs (as if God only has one love story script!).

That’s why I want to be careful about how I share this story with you. I don’t want you to hear, “I finally got a guy who stuck around . . . so surely there’s hope for you!”

‘Cause speaking of hope . . . I’ve noticed that lots of you are struggling not to give up hope.

Emily titled her email to me, “Is there any hope at all?” Here’s an excerpt:

My single girlfriends and I grew up in wonderful Christian homes where strong godly marriages were modeled, and we grew up dreaming of being wives and moms someday. We never dated around or tried to attract attention to ourselves and have even been told by lots of people that they don’t understand why we are still single. Neither do we!

I think the reason that we still struggle with boy-craziness is simply out of desperation. It’s not like we each have a hoard of guys hovering around us, and we just have to pick one. Nope, there really aren’t any guys—at all.

So whenever there is the smallest inkling of hope, we promptly do the “spiritual” thing and start praying for him every day, conniving ways to be where he is and give him a chance to observe us in a group setting, and get our hopes up . . . only to be disappointed when there really wasn’t much of anything there in the first place. It’s terrible.

Emily says it’s terrible because there are two kinds of hope—and she has the wrong kind.

There is hope because Jesus Christ is returning for you, and you will live forever with Him.

I realized that there are two kinds of hope the day I read 1 Peter 1. Check out verses three and thirteen:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead . . .

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

As I read about the “living hope” we have because Christ has been raised from the dead, I realized that there are also “dead hopes.”

And although I’m commanded to “set my hope fully on the grace that will be mine when Jesus returns for me,” I realize that much of the time I set my hope on so much less: a relationship or success or [fill in the blank].

There is hope—not because you’re currently surrounded by hoards of Christian guys (or even one!), not because you’re the most beautiful girl in your circle of friends (or a close second!)—but because Jesus Christ is returning for you, and you will live forever with Him.

There is hope. But there are two kinds: the dead kind and the living kind. Which kind do you have? (You’ll know by thinking about what sends your emotions soaring . . . or plummeting.) What specifically are you setting your hope on? I’d love to hear.

If you can see that yours is a dead hope, dig into 1 Peter 1. As you do, ask God to lift your eyes from your present situation to Him. Repent of (turn from) your dead hopes, and ask Him to help you begin to set your hope fully on Christ, your Living Hope.

Then click here for the skinny on the love story He’s scripted for me. Just promise me that your hopes won’t rise and fall based on it. Deal?

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York.

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  • Grace O

    Congratulations Paula! So happy for you! 😀 Thank you for such an encouraing post! Its a great reminder of where I truly need to put my hope: Jesus. 🙂

    • phendricks

      Thanks, Grace O!

  • Grace M.

    Oh my gosh!! Congratulations! That’s so exciting, I wish you the best!

    -Grace (meyougod.blogspot.com)

    • phendricks

      Thanks, Grace!

  • Tabitha Joi

    Sometimes we put our hope in the wrong places because the world tells us to love/trust/rely on society, not God. It’s a scary world that we’re living in, but thankfully my Hope is in the Lord. Thank you for sharing- and congratulations on your pending marriage!

    • phendricks

      Thanks, Tabitha!

  • Becca<3

    Oh that’s so exciting!! Congrats Paula! I will be praying for peace for you and your fiance ( and your families!) during the crazy wedding preparation time:) Thank you for these sweet words of encouragement. Yes! We must live in the greater hope of Jesus’ return:) I know I’ve been more than guilty of grasping my dead hopes!

    • phendricks

      So grateful for your prayers, Becca!

  • painting

    How do u know if u hav dead hope or living hope? What’s the difference between the two?

    • phendricks

      Dear Painting,

      It depends on what or who your hope is in. What makes or breaks your day? What or who can you not imagine living without? Can you sing along, “Hallelujah! All I have is Christ!,” or do you have to have Christ + ___ in order to be happy?

      I’d encourage you to ask God to show you what your hope is in, and also maybe ask someone who knows you well and will be honest with you what they think your hope is in.

      Hope that helps a bit,

      paula

  • Paula,
    thank you so much for being so considerate and thoughtful by giving this story first!! Seriously, I appreciate your blog so much, and I love how you point everyone to Jesus and that you’re honest. I’m so happy for you and wish you the best in your marriage!!

    • phendricks

      Thanks so much, Victoria!

  • Marie

    Congratulations! I’m so happy for you! 🙂

  • Katie

    DAH!!!! Haven’t read the post yet! (I WILL!) But Read the first line and freaked!!!! Congratulations Paula!!!!!! Excited for you!!!!!!! ^.^

  • Tanya

    Hi Paula, thanks so much for sharing with us. May God bless you in your future marriage.
    I confess that my hope is going down hill on the prospects of marriage, because just like you said there aren’t really any guys around, and people are wondering why I’m still single at almost 24. I am so confused, I’ve been struggling with my singleness for a long time and as my 24th birthday is approaching soon, I just feel so desperate, sometimes I can’t sleep or I wake up in the middle of the night in fear that I’ll always be alone. I pray to God and I want to trust Him with all my heart, but worriness still grabs it’s hold of me. I just don’t know what to do, I want to marry a godly man and there’s none around. Please keep me in your prayers. Most of my friends, brothers and sisters are married, and have children, and my future is so uncertain still.

    • Leisha

      I totally understand you. I have been struggling with everything concerning relationships but I know from instances in my own life that God will help us. It won’t be immediately but God is controlling it. I would encourage you to listen to the song by Danny Gokey called More Than You Think I am. I think it might help. I will definitely pray for you!!!

    • Rain

      I had this issue during this year when my friend dated someone I liked. For an entire month I was completely out of it; depression seemed to hover over me and I thought I did something wrong. After crying and crying I realized that God spoke to me and told me that there is a reason why it didn’t work out. I was hoping that this relationship could make me officially happy and I could boast about how good God is. Because I was so focused on trying to be in a relationship I realized I wasn’t paying attention to the things that God had already blessed me with: an amazing church, incredible friends and recently God gave me Christian friends (which I never really had before). He was pointing to the situation almost as if,”You see why this didn’t work? Because you were so focused on him you forgot about me. Someone who loves you more than anything. This guy will ultimately fail you, he is human and humans make mistakes but I will always love you an take care of you. This is the part of your life you haven’t fully given me. You put your trust in everything else but when it comes to romance. In order to follow the destiny I have given you, you must give me your all. Including romance.” And I think a lot og us women tend to give everything to God but our hopes for romance. God has planned our lives so why should we focus our energy on relationships when is the one who has given us every relationship we have. We need to give our everything to God and until we do, we are going to distance ourselves from the plan that he has for us.

    • Alex G

      Tanya, I am a freshly (May) 24 year old woman who has been single her entire life as well, so believe me, I understand your frustration. Unfortunately I don’t have a beautifully woven love story to tell quite yet and I’m not sure when I will, but I have struggled a very long time with the idea that I will never be loved or married. I still can’t confirm God’s plans for my love life, but I know I gave it over to Him in 2015 and I will continue to trust that He has the best plans in store for me. In the mean time I will no longer continue to rack my brain over any guy or try to casually date men who don’t even put Christ first (which I did for awhile). That has never been what my heart desired in a relationship, and I truly believe God has kept me from being in a serious relationship because He knows the desires of my heart. We as women who get older and watch our friends and family marry and begin families have to realize that is the plan God had for those individuals and the plans He has for us is beyond anything we can imagine. But more importantly He desires of us to love Him and worship Him for who He is and I am finding out in this 24th year that that is enough for me. Once we begin to truly turn our minds to Christ, there is a supernatural healing that takes place and we begin to realize the only person who can fill that void we feel is Jesus. I still desire a husband. Someone who I can love unconditionally and be loved by unconditionally. But I know that until that day comes, I have a God that loves me beyond measure and that is enough to satisfy this young woman’s heart. I hope it can begin to satisfy yours as well. I will be praying for you my dear Sister.

    • I appreciate the words of the sisters here who have replied to you. I want to remind you that God truly does love you far more than any man on this earth ever will. He has your best interest at the center of His heart for you. He is totally trustworthy and can be trusted with your heart and your future. Our hope must rest solidly on our relationship with Christ as it is the only thing that is eternally secure. All other things are on shifting sand and will fail or disappoint us in this life.

      If I may add one suggestion to the other replies, it would be to take your desperation, worries and your cares to Jesus. Pour out your heart to Him and then choose to surrender your desires and your future to Him. Matthew 6:21-25-34 is a great passage to read, meditate on and even memorize. Would you consider doing that?

      I am praying for you, Tanya! Don’t lower your standards for something or someone less than what God desires for you. His standards are higher than the world’s’ standards. But He alone knows what is best for you.

  • Leisha

    What was your most helpful thing to do to keep you encouraged during your single years?

    • phendricks

      Great question, Leisha. I wouldn’t say there was any one thing. But getting to know God’s character, and “owning” His promises, and spending time investing in others rather than focusing on myself helped a lot.

  • Danielle McIntyre

    I can relate to this so well. I prepared for marriage and courtship during my highsvhool years. I assumed that since I was headed to bible college I would meet a godly man there and we would marry. As much as I had my hopes up, nothing turned out of it. And I ended up returning home halfway through my junior year to deal with medical issues and debt.

    I would have never guessed that when I finally stopped looking. And I had given all hope up, that God was preparing someone I worked with to get saved and soon be my husband. Hope is a great tool but can be used as something to pull us down as well. I know for me I kept having to remember that my job wasn’t to find a husband, but to live in obedience to what God told me to do right then. Trust me it wasn’t easy, but now I can see how all those bumps along the way made me stronger and my relationship with Christ strengthened.
    Thanks for writing this article!

  • So excited for you, Paula! I can’t wait to hear about your love story!
    Thank you for writing an article that I needed to read! I never really thought about the two different kinds of hope -thank you for giving me something new to think and ponder on!
    Rebekah
    http://www.moreradiance.com

  • Anon

    Awesome! Congrats! This is a really good post, reminding us about how God is our first and greatest love. As the song says, “there’s nothing in this world that compares to all You are.”

  • Deal Paula !!! ..can’t wait to hear about your love story. This article has made me think again….i need to examine ‘the hope’ that i so frequently boast about…!!! May my hope be upon His grace alone…!!

  • Elizabeth Williams

    I can definitely relate! I feel a lot like Emily and I’m sure many girls do 🙂

  • Hannah

    Congrats Paula! Thanks so much for sharing this post, I didn’t realize that I was putting my hope in things other than God. It really made me stop and think about my relationship with God and what I’m finding happiness in. Thanks again!!

  • Such a great, great reminder! Really needed it. Thanks! 🙂

  • Dancer on tip toe

    Congratulations Ms. Paula!