The Right Stuff: Being Your
Best While Waiting for God's Best
By Laura J. Bagby
Some might mistake her as the heiress to the Folgers Coffee
empire, but though this Christian single shares the same last name,
and a wonderfully caffeinated sense of humor, she is brewing much more
than just coffee.
In fact, unlike other singles who spend hours crying over their singleness
or wait for life and purpose to find them, Janet L. Folger has been out trying
to change society for our good. And, boy, has she done a lot because of (not
despite) her single status!
Speaker, advocate, lobbyist, activist -- Janet is all of these. She
is currently the president of Faith2Action, a faith-based, pro-family
organization that seeks to link arms with other, like-minded organization
to reinstate godly values in our society. Janet specializes in the
hot-button issues, like abortion, homosexuality, and pornography.
Through petitioning efforts and prayer, Janet was instrumental in
helping to overturn the Terri Schiavo decision. Previously the national
director of the Center for Reclaiming America, founded by Dr. D. James
Kennedy, Janet launched an online campaign that transpired into one
of the largest pro-family grassroots efforts, pulling in more than
500,000 people. She also successfully lobbied for the passage of the
nation's first partial-birth abortion ban, which she talks about in
her previous book, True to Life!
Now, with a new book out, Janet is lobbying for a different kind of change
-- a change of heart and attitude. The object of her new soap-box appeal?
Janet's current book, What 's a Girl to do While Waiting for Mr.
Right?, is an honest look at the single's scene today, complete
with hilarious tales of Janet's personal dating woes and a slew of
Bible verses to help Christian singles navigate the waters of loneliness,
discouragement, and God's purposes for this season of life.
I got a chance to chat with this intelligent, fun-loving Christian woman
about relationships. I couldn't wait to ask her some juicy questions. Janet
was more than gracious to bend my ear and had me in stitches several times
with her stories.
What made you decide to write this book? Here you are in the political
arena, everybody knows who you are, and now you are going to be honest about
your dating experiences? That is pretty vulnerable.
JANET FOLGER: Yeah, I was totally forced into it by my publisher,
who twisted my arm all the way around my back! (laughs) I said, 'Look, I can't
write a book; I can't even write a brochure on this subject! I am the issues
girl. If you want to talk about issues -- the non-controversial issues like
abortion, homosexuality, pornography [tongue in cheek] -- that I can handle.
This is not something I can do.' He says, 'You got to write what you know.
You are not sitting around whining, eating Haagen-Dazs. You are doing something
with this season of your life.'
You are not forgotten and abandoned because you happen not to be married
yet. You see all your friends getting married, you see all the kids they are
having, and you think, What about me? Did God forget me? God has a
plan and a purpose. If all of the days of your life are ordained before one
of them came to be, that includes even now. Instead of waiting by the phone
or looking at your watch, get off the bench, get in the game, and make a difference
and fulfill the purpose and plan He has for you. That is, in a nutshell, why
I wrote it after having been talked into doing so.
For you to have written this book as a single to singles is so important
because I have read countless singles books and a lot of them are written
by married people.
JANET FOLGER: I feel the same way! Yeah, that's nice. I am happy for
you, but don't tell me about anything because you are not there. You have
forgotten what it is like.
I was dating a guy at Christmas when I was writing this book. The guy bought
me a Christmas tree, a very nice, pleasant thing to do, but I took him aside
and I said, 'Listen to me: I don't want you to buy me this tree unless you
are going to help me take it down.' We break up over Christmas. I am writing
about all these platitudes, but where am I? Somebody rear-ended me on the
way home, it is Valentine's Day, I don't have a date, and my Christmas tree
is still up. God really is who He says He is. I am really going to trust Him,
even when things aren't as I would like them to be. I think that is one of
the strengths of the book. It is not, 'Everything is great and it will work
out for you, Honey.'
Someone asked me in an interview, 'Do people call in or write in about these
disaster dates?' I said, 'No, they are all mine!' (laughs) Who would have
thought that God would make something like that for a greater good? I am actually
getting letters from married people who have read the book, saying how it
was helpful for anybody, any walk of life you are in. There are more than
200 Bible verses in there, so there is a lot of truth, but it is applied in
a practical way.
Do you struggle with where your security lies? It is not supposed to be
in a man, but even Christian women are saying, 'Get out there! Don't just
wait around for Mr. Right.'
JANET FOLGER: Listen to this: I did a show for AFA Radio Network.
A lady calls in and she says, 'God hasn't forgotten you. God has a plan. He
can do anything. I decided I wasn't going to get into the singles scene anymore.'
She was just going to give her life to God and let Him deliver her husband.
Next thing you know, a guy's car breaks down. He knocks on her door looking
for a flashlight. They end up getting married!
Maybe I should try that!
JANET FOLGER: That increased my faith to know that if God could do
that, He could do anything. A lot of people that I meet that I end up dating
are people who are involved in things out of obedience to God--they are doing
petition drives, defending the Boy Scouts, working for children. This is really
where I think it is at. It is putting your faith to action. That is the kind
of person that you want to meet anyway.
I think it is ironic that you fight for children and marriage and you
are not married.
JANET FOLGER: Crazy, huh? I wrote True to Life! which is my
first book on the right-to-life subject. I was at a Christian Booksellers
Association convention and I was signing books, but I had just broken up with
this guy. I would go back to my room and bawl my eyes out. My friends were
saying to me, 'Janet, Satan is stealing from you. Most people would love to
be where you are. You have got to snap out of it.'
So I go on this business trip to Hawaii. You may remember that they voted
for marriage a couple of years ago. We ended up winning overwhelmingly. At
that time, the polls were showing dead even. I go down there working on commercials
and working on ad campaigns to try and help marriage. Every single person
in Hawaii, I am convinced, is on their honeymoon. I go back to my hotel room
by myself and I am thinking, Great. I am going to order in and write commercials.
Yuck. I wake up and I am bummed. I realize I have to look at things a little
differently. I am on a business trip and I am in paradise. I could be fighting
for marriage in Detroit, but God sent me here. It was a total attitude change
of gratitude instead of feeling like I was being left out. I prayed. I took
the tour of the city. I learned how to surf. I put a flower in my hair and
answered the phone 'Aloha!' I worked at night and played during the day, and
it was great.
That is the choice we have. Are we going to lament Mr. Wrong and all the
things we don't have, or are we going to enjoy what God has given us now?
The only thing worse than waiting for God is wishing that you had waited for
God, wishing that you had waited for Mr. Right. I think there is a temptation
to settle for Mr. Right Now. I really am encouraging people to pull back.
It is not worth the risk. I actually have been proposed to a number of times
-- last count was 17. It is not about just getting married. It is about finding
that one that God has selected.
God is God, and there is nothing He can't do. If He can raise the dead, and
He can part the sea, if He can create the universe out of nothing, He can
find you your husband.
Are you one who thinks there is just one right man?
JANET FOLGER: I think that there is one that He wants for
you. I think that we can mess up. People divorce. God hates divorce.
People do it all of the time. But I believe that if we are surrendered
to Him and we are submitted to Him and we are seeking Him first, then
these things are going to be added. It is going to be the person that
He has. We can marry Mr. Will Do or Mr. Good Enough, and He can make
good from that, but I don't think it is His best. I want His best,
and I honestly think He has a best. If He has every day planned, He
knows who that is.
People kept writing in, 'Make sure you tell them that there is no Mr. Right.
There is really not just one.' I would tell them, 'I don't think I believe
that.' So I am surrendered to Him.
And you know what I have also surrendered? 'God, if you don't want me to
be married.' It hurts to pray this. It is so painful. If He doesn't want this,
if He is coming back next week, I want to be used by Him in whatever way He
has designed for me on this earth. If you surrender that, as hard and as painful
as it is to pray it, if you mean it, I believe that if desire that is still
there, He is going to grant that desire.
If you had a charge to single men today, what would you say?
JANET FOLGER: There is the feminization of men. They have been wimped-out,
portrayed as the idiots in sitcoms and movies for the past ten years. We need
to say, 'Be a man!' 'Open the door.' If some female doesn't appreciate it,
that is a great screening process. You don't want that kind of girl.
I want the kind of guy that is going to pursue me with passion. I am not
going to manipulate anything. I am not going to orchestrate anything. If that
is what you have to do to get a guy, I don't want that kind of guy. I want
a leader. I want a spiritual leader. And I haven't seen too many of them.
I want a guy who has a heart after God. If I am going to have to submit, I
don't want to follow somebody who is going the wrong way. If he is going God's
way, then we are going to be fine; if he isn't committed and sold-out to God,
I don't even want to be on that train.
My message to men is be men after God. God is going to take care of you,
On the flip side, what is your charge to single women?
JANET FOLGER: Trust God. Quit watching the clock and waiting by the
phone and get in the game. A lot of people would say to me, ' I will pray
about whether or not I should help protect children.' You don't have to pray
to be obedient. You can pray, but then act. Put your faith to action because
if you are sitting at home, whining about what you don't have, you are probably
not going to get it for a while. It is like the people in Israel. As long
as they complain, God is going to keep them in the desert.
You have got to come to the place where you realize that there are things
to appreciate about being single. I like that if I am exhausted, I can go
home and I can crash. I don't have to feed a bunch of kids right now. I want
to. I am longing to. Don't get me wrong. But there are cool things about being
My mom started 'Operation Valentine' to send Valentines to the elderly in
nursing homes and hospitals. I was part of giving out some of those Valentines.
It is way better than thinking about the Valentines that you didn't get by
giving them to somebody who otherwise would never get them.
Singles are really bad about giving. I can even say that of myself. I
don't know why. I guess we get discouraged. The enemy tells us, 'You are all
alone. Nobody loves you. You can't possibly do anything right.' You are getting
hit on every side.
JANET FOLGER: That is why. Singles are the most effective, world changing
group of people out there. Satan wants you debilitated. He is going to get
you into a depression. He is going to get you to think that God has forgotten
you. He is going to tell you all those lies. That is his job description.
Reality is not your circumstances. It is not your feelings. It is trusting
every syllable of the Word of God.
If you look at Shiphrah and Pua [Exodus 1:15-21], it gives me great confidence.
They were the midwives. Pharoah was saying that he was going to kill off the
Israelites, kill all the male children. The midwives lie about it. They say,
'The women are vigorous. They give birth before we ever arrive.' I would be
inclined to say, 'I am going to obey God and not you. I am not going to listen
to your stupid little order!' I would probably have been in jail. They lie.
But God's response was that God blessed them with families of their own because
they feared God more than they feared man.
God listened to Leah. God listened to Hannah. And He blessed them with families
of their own. God says that He sets the solitary in families. God is the One
who said that it isn't good for man to be alone. This is His design, so we
are praying within His will.
I had a friend who came to volunteer for Right to Life. She stuffed envelopes.
She didn't have any hope of meeting anybody there, but she was joining because
she felt it was right. She introduced me to two of her friends and I date
them both. I am dating like a maniac, having a blast, and her life is bleak.
I throw her a going away party. She is moving out of state. A New Jersey guy
brings his friend to the party. The reason I dated this New Jersey guy is
so that she could meet his friend at the party I threw her. They are now married
with five kids. While I was dating and having a blast, she was having a miserable
few months. But now she is married with kids, and a decade later I am not.
Circumstances are not what they seem. It seemed like things were great for
me, and they weren't. Things looked bleak for her, but they weren't. Around
the corner, her husband was there.
Do you have any last thoughts?
JANET FOLGER: 'Do not throw away your confidence; it will
be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done
the will of God, you will receive what He has promised' [Hebrews 10:35-36].
That includes a husband. If that is the desire of your heart, I believe
He is going to give it to you because He is a good God with good gifts
and He is the one who said marriage is a good thing.
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