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The Right Stuff: Being Your Best While Waiting for God's Best

By Laura J. Bagby

CBN.comSome 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? Christian singles.

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, too.

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 single.

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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