Wednesday, August 24, 2011

All the Single Ladies

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:23

I got asked a LOT of questions on my Q&A post about singleness I'm just throwing out a bunch of thoughts today - it's long. Bear with me.

I wrote some of this post almost 4 years ago. If you have read here at all - you know that I have a heart for girls who are single (and wanting to be married) and for those girls waiting for children. God made me wait for both a husband and children and even though I was NOT PATIENT at all in those waiting periods and it was hard ..................I can truly say now it was worth the wait and that I learned so much about Him and just exactly how much I can trust Him by learning to let Him be in charge.

I could probably write a 5000 page book on the subject of singleness because I know what it's like to wait for "the one" and I feel so strongly about it not hurting your self esteem or making you question God's love for you. I don't really know how to put it in one short blog post. I also am NO expert and I don't understand God's ways or His will for each person. I do believe our lives are like a jig saw puzzle and when you look at just one piece - it's hard to see what the entire picture is.

For one reason or another, God has had me in a waiting status for the biggest part of my adult life. Probably because I'm a planner and a control freak but most likely because He wants to teach me to trust Him and He also wants me to know Him and I have learned to cling to Him during these times. I had to wait a while for a husband and I had to wait for a baby. And the one thing I know for sure is God has let me go through both of these things so that I can have the ministry of encouraging women who are single or are infertile. I have such a huge burden for both groups because I know the pain that is in the waiting.

I grew up thinking I would go to college and meet the man I would marry. I thought that was how it worked and I tried to help this along by going to a Baptist college where I would for sure meet a Christian guy to be my soulmate. Well graduation came and went and I didn't have a ring, a M.R.S. degree or even a boyfriend. As the years passed, I began to feel more desperate and hopeless. I tried to put my trust in God but I felt like He had forgotten me. And I constantly compared myself to other girls who had gotten married - what was wrong with me? Satan really tried to attack my self esteem. That is one of the main things that burdens me about single girls is that you can really start to feel like you aren't "enough".
Well - the truth is that God has the perfect match for you if He has given you the desire to be married. And He is a God of perfect timing. And the thing I learned the most after years of trying to be who I thought guys wanted so they would like me is that there is nothing you can do or say - if he is the ONE - he will fall for you and it will work. If he is not IT - there is nothing you can do or say to make it be different. I used to think if I was just thinner or blonder or more stylish or funnier or smarter or more athletic or more Godly, THEN he would like me and want to marry me. Or if I would have just said this or done that - it would have worked out. But the thing is - if he is not who God has for you - there is nothing you can do to "make it work". The only guy I ever dated who I was just myself around was my husband. I never pretended to be something I wasn't. I never played games. I never tried to make it work - it just did. It fit. It felt like I had always known him. It just felt like home.
And I remember on my wedding day finally getting it. It HAD been worth the wait. I was a month shy of 30 and I thought that day might never come - but it did. And God IS so good. And I know now He needed to shape me into the woman I needed to be to make a good wife.
And marriage is not perfect. It can be wonderful but it can also be very hard. I always thought the answer to all of my problems was a husband. And I put a lot on hold until I was married. "I'll tithe when I am married. I'll get involved in church when I'm married. I'll invest in my retirement when I'm married." If you are single - don't wait on life to start when you get married. Marriage can just bring a WHOLE new set of trials and issues. But the one good part - is you have a partner to get through the problems with! God is so good to have ordained marriage and to give us these best friends to spend our lives with.
I pray if you are single - that you will just trust God that He does have a plan. I pray that you'll look forward to the day you are on the other side of the tunnel looking back and realize the journey you have been on has made you a better woman.
My sweet friend Caroline one told me something that I LOVED so much that it made me cry. One of my favorite verses (that I had made into a nursery sign for Harper) is Psalms 37:4 "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart". That was my life verse when I was single and it's on my heart again as I wait for a baby. Caroline said "Don't forget the verse before that says 'Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the Land and enjoy safe pastures'" She said her and her friends love to say "they are just dwelling in the Land". Isn't that awesome?
I hope if you are just dwelling in the land right now- that you will be encouraged that God loves you more than anything and if we humans who are evil like to give our children (or friends or family) good gifts - how much more does He want to give good gifts to those who ask Him? (Matthew 7:11)

Also - I know it's SO hard to feel included in church when you are single. That's something I really struggled with. Church can be so family oriented (which is wonderful and should be that way) - but if you are single - you can feel like you don't feel in. I think churches struggle with how to make that better. My encouragement would be to go anyway. If you can't find a good singles group - go to a couples class or small group. Those couples may be a good source for set ups!!! Other singles probably aren't going to help you find someone but couples would like nothing more than to help fix you up! ;-) You don't have to JUST be friends with other singles - but sometimes life just works out that it's easier to be with people in the same stages.

And this is probably the last thing you want to hear - but enjoy being single. Most likely you WILL get married and have a family at some point and you will look back one day and think "wow - it WAS kind of fun being single". Travel ......a LOT. I wish I would have done more. Volunteer for things (also a great way to meet like minded people). Go out to eat, visit friends, go to lots of movies. Enjoy Saturdays laying in bed watching movies all day. Eat anything you want for dinner. I am so thankful for my family that I can't stop thanking God but there are a lot of things you just can't do easily once you have a family. It takes careful planning now for me to have a night with friends or to go on a trip and I can't sign up to help with things or volunteer as much as I once could. I made the mistake of just wallowing in my unhappiness of being single instead of realizing it was (hopefully) just a stage of life and enjoying it.

I just want you to know - you are NOT forgotten and I pray for you - all of you - daily as you wait. Your love stories are still being written.

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