News Articles

When the waiting lasts so long, Rebecca St. James clings to God

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Rebecca St. James has spent years urging teenagers to abstain from sex while waiting for the spouse God is reserving for them, but now in her late 20s, she admits that sometimes the waiting can seem almost unbearable. She offered Baptist Press some thoughts on how she deals with her commitment on those days.

“I talk about it. I try not to hold it in,” she said. “If I’m burdened about something, especially singleness, I talk about it with a mentor or friend or my mom. I’ll talk about how it can be lonely in that waiting process and discouraging. She’s a comfort, and she prays for me and encourages me to know that God’s going to take care of me no matter what.”

About a year and a half ago, St. James said, she came to a place where she sensed God asking her to give up control of the dream she has to get married. She had committed to waiting for a mate, but she needed to trust that if God ultimately had a better plan for her than marriage, then that would be okay.

“What He was wanting me to do is just trust that He’s going to take care of me no matter what, whether that means having a husband or whether that means fulfilling me in another way,” she said. “That was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life, to actually give that dream over to God and let go of [the control].

“Obviously the dream still exists in my heart, but [I had to let go] of the control,” she said. “When you try to control something, you worry about it and you think, ‘Oh, what should I do?’ and ‘How can I help this along?’”

God wanted her to simply rest in Him and know that there may be a better plan and a reason why He may not want her to marry, she said.

“It’s still something that I have to give over to Him regularly. It’s not one of those things that you give over to Him once and think, ‘Oh, I’m absolutely free!’”

Certainly a good amount of freedom accompanied the decision to give the worry over to God, St. James said, but because it’s such a big dream in her life, it’s something she must continue to abandon to Him.

During the tough times, she is able to stand on God’s Word because it’s solid truth, she said.

“If I’m going to believe that the Bible is true, which I do, then I need to trust it because that’s where push comes to shove,” she said. “If I believe it, then I’m going to stand on it.”

A Scripture that has challenged and encouraged her during this season of her life, she said, is Romans 8:28, which says that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

“That’s been a real affirming verse for me because I can know that anything that happens in my life, even being single and waiting for a husband and kind of being lonely sometimes in that process, that even can be used for good in my life,” St. James said.

One way it can be used for good in her life and in the lives of those in similar situations is to cause them to cling to God, to turn to Him in a stronger way and to build a relationship with Him, she said.

“It can be used to help me be able to focus on ministry more for this season, like [the Apostle] Paul talked about,” she said. “And some of those reasons behind the pain in our lives we’re not going to see until heaven, but I do seek to stand on God’s Word.”

In fact, her ministry is enhanced in these days as she practices what she preaches. Richard Ross, co-founder of the True Love Waits movement, told Baptist Press that St. James is an ideal role model for teens struggling to abstain from sex in today’s sex-saturated culture because she walks in their shoes.

“God has been gracious to allow some of us middle-aged married people to speak out for True Love Waits. But I am so thankful teenagers also have heard other voices,” Ross said. “Rebecca St. James has been one of the most valuable of those voices. She is young, full of life and single — what a platform on which to stand for purity.”

Fortunately, St. James said, with God’s help she has kept her promise to remain pure thus far, but she realizes not everyone has a spotless track record in that area of life. She doesn’t want past mistakes to keep those people from starting now to walk the path God has for them.

She addresses the subject in one of the verses of her popular song “Wait for Me” and in a book by the same name.

“One of the things that’s a really big theme both in my song and in my book is this whole aspect of forgiveness because a lot of people haven’t waited,” she told BP. “Pretty much whenever I talk about purity, I talk about forgiveness, whether it’s from the stage or in a book or in a song.

“There’s a part in the song that says, ‘Now I know you may have made mistakes, but there’s forgiveness and a second chance.’ And I think sometimes young people buy into this lie from the enemy that if they’ve blown it they might as well keep having sex,” she said. “But that’s the enemy’s attempt to keep them in slavery to that sin and to continue to rip them off. God doesn’t talk in the Bible about blowing it; He talks about forgiveness and grace and He says, ‘Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.’”
St. James has been touring the United States in concert with Barlow Girl and Jadon Lavik. Her latest album, “If I Had One Chance to Tell You Something,” is available in stores now, and a re-release of her book “Wait for Me” is due in April. Visit www.rsjames.com for more information.

    About the Author

  • Erin Roach