About two years ago I excitedly attended a sermon on singleness. FINALLY, a sermon solely for me and my people. As I soaked in every word the pastor was saying about how singleness should be viewed as a gift whether it’s for a season or a lifetime, I jokingly wrote a note to my friend saying, “I hope I don’t have the lifetime gift of singleness.” We giggled but deep down I couldn’t help but fear that this might be true. I’ve stood by twelve of my closest friends on their wedding days. I’ve watched them make their grand entrances, guests look in awe, and their Prince Charming become emotional as he watches his beautiful bride walk down the aisle. I without a doubt have loved being a part of each and every moment, but I can’t act like I haven’t felt a bit of envy and a loss of hope with each toss of the bouquet.
If you had asked me as a teen where I’d be at by this point in life, single wouldn’t have been in the description. In fact, I’m pretty sure it would have gone something like this, “I’ll be married, have two kids, and a well-paid job based off of a high education.” Which couldn’t be further from the truth because I’m broke as a joke, childless and you guessed it- single. I had a married friend ask me a couple of years ago, “Do you ever worry all the good ones are taken?” LOL nope, never. Seriously though? Yes! This thought has crossed my mind on many occasions. I’ve read plenty of books and articles over the years on singleness and dating. Usually, around the time I really start to connect with the author she drops the bomb, “then I met my Dave,” and that’s my cue to exit out of the browser/put the book back on the shelf. I know I should be encouraged by stories with happy endings in which the author finds her true love, but I find myself getting angry. I want to read an encouraging story about a strong independent Christian woman that hasn’t found Dave. I want to know I’ll be okay if Mr. Right never comes.
A few of months ago, I reached a point in which I would like to have called contentment, but in reality I was more apathetic than anything. My daily time with God became sparse. I started to numb out in church services and small group time. I’d given up on the idea of marriage for myself and believed the lie that I was being punished for past mistakes. Even though I’d peg myself as an emotional person, I hadn’t cried in months, and tried my hardest to suppress feelings when they would start to surface. I didn’t feel the right to talk about this to friends and family because honestly I was embarrassed. There are far worse things that happen to people in life and the loneliness I felt couldn’t compare to the hurt, sickness, death and tragedy brought to so many on a daily basis. All the while, the thoughts were still there. The resentment towards God grew daily, and although God was present, He felt a million miles away. Then one night after having a minor disagreement with a friend, I broke. The tears began to flow, and the feelings of hurt and anger were released into one of the most honest prayers I’ve ever prayed to the Lord. I cried out to the Lord for answers, asking why the wait, why the heartache along the way, and if there’s a groom, where in the world is he? As petty and selfish as my cries were, God definitely heard them. Over the past few months, He’s led me to answers and pulled me closer to Him through His Word. I can’t say I’ve been completely content since, but I’ve found a deeper level of comfort through His Word.
Here’s what I’ve got for those out there that are in the same boat as me. The ones that haven’t found “the one” and fear they might not ever find him. The plan I had when I was a teen, the one I’ve revised frequently over the years, doesn’t come close to the one God has for me. Yes, God has promised to prosper me and not to harm me, promised to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11), but He hasn’t promised me the plan I made for myself at an early age (Proverbs 16:9). For His thoughts, are not my thoughts, neither are His ways my ways. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways and thoughts higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9). Furthermore, my timing is not His timing (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,11; II Peter 3:8). I’m an impatient person but God tells me love is patient (I Corinthians 13:4). I’m clearly not content but by apostle Paul’s example, I’ve been shown with everything to learn to be content (Philippians 4:11). It is not my job to plan my path, I am however, asked to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my OWN understanding, in all my ways submit to Him, and He will make my paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). In a world where identity is highly placed on roles, relationships and things people possess, I need to remember my identity is in Christ Jesus, Who has made me a daughter of the King through faith (Galatians 3:26). In moments I feel rejected and unlovable, I’m reminded He chose me (John 15:16) and loved me from the beginning of my existence (Jeremiah 1:5; Jeremiah 31:3; I John 4:10). I’ve been in His thoughts and He’s been pursuing me from day one (Psalm 139:1-17). Christ in fact loved me so much that He gave His life so that I could have one (I John 4:9; John 3:16; John 10:10). He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me (Deuteronomy 31:8) and wants nothing more than to be my one and only (Exodus 34:14). A true love story.
The most beautiful thing about it is that it’s true for everyone. There’s nothing more fulfilling and beautiful than the love story you share with Christ Jesus. Hear it, believe it and live it. Live knowing you’re loved and wanting nothing more than to serve the one who loved you first (I John 4:19) and who has given you everything (James 1:17). Don’t lose hope but trust in the great plan God has in store for you, even if that looks different than your own. I truly believe when you line your life up with God’s truth, you begin to desire what he wants for you and in return God will give you the desires of your heart (John 15:7; Psalm 37:4; Matthew 7:7).
It all seems so easy when we see God spell it out for us in His Word. However, we are human and even more so, I’m a part of a group known as emotional women that will continue to see peaks and valleys in everyday life. So my challenge to myself, as well as to you, on the days we wake up and are not feeling it… the ones we want nothing more than to just pull the cover over our heads and never come out, (or come out only for Mexican food and ice cream), pray (Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2). Pray for comfort (II Corinthians 1:4), for help (Psalm 121:2), for a full heart. Pray for contentment, for peace, for perseverance (Luke 18:1) and for God’s presence to be over you. Pray, pray, pray (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Feelings can be the WORST but prayer is without a doubt more powerful (James 5:16). I’ve always struggled with sharing my feelings, but I’ve learned not to be too prideful to ask for prayers from mentors and those closest to me (James 5:14). We all have struggles, we are all fighting the same fight and we are not meant to fight it alone. Dive deep into His Word. Emerge yourself into scripture, meditate on it and truly let God speak to you (Psalm 1:2; Psalm 62:1; James 4:8; Psalm 119:105; II Timothy 3:16). Stop waiting in discontent for what’s to come, but instead embrace the gift that God has given you (Ephesians 2:10, 5:16). Commit to others in love (John 13:34). Establish and maintain spiritual friendships (Proverbs 27:17). In your loneliness, abide in Him and He will abide in you (John 15:4). Choose to look at this season as a holy calling (I Corinthians 7).
As this string of somewhat connected thoughts comes to a close, I want to leave you with one last thing. Remember the fear I had over a year ago as I listened to the pastor talk about the lifetime gift of singleness? You know the one about never being the bride? In Christ this fear is crushed. Someday the wedding of the Lamb will come and His bride will be waiting for Him (Revelation 19:7-8). Clothed in clean, fine linen, we will be waiting. For in this beautiful moment He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and our heartache will be no more (Revelation 21:4). I believe without a doubt this moment and the eternity we get to spend with Him in paradise will surpass the fairytale wedding we’ve contrived for ourselves over the years (I Corinthians 2:9).
So with that being said, whether this is a season or a lifetime (eek) of singleness, I’m choosing to sing to the Lord for He HAS been good to me (Psalm 13).