Dating may not be high on the priority list for some single mothers, but for those who still desire love and marriage, Chenelle Jackson offers a few points to consider.
In her new book, “Don’t Pray for Your Boaz, Pray for Your Joey,” Jackson takes contemporary situations and adds the scriptural aspect to guide single women, whether or not they are mothers, along the dating landscape.
Jackson based the book’s title on the biblical chapter of Ruth, a Moabite widow whose faithfulness to her mother-in-law eventually led to her marriage to Boaz, a wealthy landowner. Both are mentioned in the lineage of Christ Jesus in Matthew 1 and Boaz is cited in Luke 3. Joey is a modern take on Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus.
“I realized that Jesus was the first person to have a stepfather. Joseph married a woman who did not have anything going for herself, but she was pregnant. He had to make a choice to either put her away or marry her. So he married her. He is the unspoken hero in the Bible,” explained Jackson, who attends The Liberty Church in Gardena led by Pastor David Cross.
“But, the best part about Jesus is that God is His Heavenly Father. God saw fit for Jesus to have an earthly father to teach him how to be a responsible man, be accountable and learn hard work ethics. There was a man in the home. So I want to encourage other women,” she said.
Through chapters such as “Forgiving That Absentee Parent,” “Restoration,” “Purpose Dating,” and “Marrying You and Your Child(ren),” Jackson covers the highs-and-lows of building relationships and quotes various scriptures to strengthen women to keep God’s Word and His will first in their life.
The section entitled “Be Intentional” directs women to communicate with God and trust Him to fulfill the request. Referring to Philippians 4:6 – “Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be known unto God.”
“No one wants to stop what they are doing and give it to God and trust Him. We’re too busy,” Jackson wrote. “But, we need to go to Him in prayer with an intentional heart. We need to be focused on God’s greatness and who He is, not what He can do for us. You know you have desires and God placed them there, so He knows too.”
Calling “Don’t Pray for Your Boaz” more like a self-help book, Jackson said her message will help those who have pre-conceived ideas about dating, love and marriage.
“We have these standards that we want men to live up to like he has to have a six-figure income or he has to have a home. But, I want to encourage women to look past that and ask themselves, ‘do I have something to offer as well?’ Ask yourself, ‘are we compatible?’ Sometimes you have to start from scratch and build yourself up,” she noted.
While the book is short – only 105 pages – Jackson believes it’s the right size “for single mothers who only have minutes to spare.” She also includes a “Canvas Your Thoughts” page after each chapter to allow readers to jot down their reflections about the topic.
As a former single mother who has now been married for three years, Jackson used many of her personal experiences to write the “Don’t Pray for Your Boaz.” The one constant throughout her journey has been her faith in God.
“My favorite scripture is Isaiah 55:8-9 – ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your way. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’
“That makes me realize that no matter how I think a situation is going to turn out, God is so much bigger and so much more in control.,” said Jackson. “I just learned to let it go, ride the waves and trust God.”
“Don’t Pray for Your Boaz, Pray for Your Joey” is available at Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com or at canvasyourthoughts.com.