Updated: Aug 17, 2018
The following is a journal entry of mine from a few months back. I wanted to start incorporating these “real life moments” in because no matter how much I would like to say everything is in order and going according to plan in my life, that is not how life works. Maybe a little uncomfortable to read at times, these entries are not meant to make you say “oh gosh! this poor girl”, but more so to come alongside you as readers and friends and say, I get it, I have my moments too.
This post is about those frustrating moments and questions of why in life, but also the importance of having someone in your life that you can be real with… and I mean really real. For me, single life can be tough. I know all my married friends out there are shaking their heads right now saying, “yeah, married life can be tougher” :). Let’s just put that argument to rest by prefacing this entry with the following: life is tough anytime you have a goal or a desired reality in your heart and you aren’t living that reality. With that in mind, I believe no matter what your current reality is, we can all connect to the idea of finding hope and joy in life even when everything doesn’t perfectly align… because really, when does perfect ever happen?
Struggles I do understand, and since this blog belongs to me, today you will be reading about one of mine. Being 32 and unmarried can be an all-consuming worry if I were to let it, especially since I have had the desire to be married and have a family since I can remember. There are moments that I can only describe as dark in my thought life. I can bully myself with endless insecurities and fears until I feel like an emotionally bruised mess, anybody else feel me on that one? Fortunately I’m never in that negative space for too long thanks to my relationship with a God whose love is ever present and always enough. We get real though, God and I. Being able to be 100% truthful about my feelings to Him is one of the greatest tools I have in beating the doubts when they creep up on me. So with honesty comes a release of the pressures I put on myself and a moment where I can just be vulnerable and open. I am so thankful for a relationship with my Creator, who made me, knows me, and invites me to be honest, even brutally so, yet always meets me with the love to uphold me.
Real life moments with Amy #1: I’m not telling God what to do, I’m asking Him what He’s doing.
This is how I really feel about being single with no prospects and a dismal landscape ahead of me. Frustrated… and ... sad. Because I want so badly to tell myself reassuringly that God is still working in this area of my life and He will absolutely deliver a husband to me in His time, and children soon after. I want to tell myself that an absolute exists here because He has given me the desire for love and family in the deepest levels of my heart, but I know better. Absolutes are not a thing in the Bible when it comes to what I desire. Only when it comes to God’s love and His promise of a plan for me. So I’m left asking, what is God’s intended plan for me? Is a husband in the works, or am I going to have a grand epiphany one day and cease to want to be married?
Maybe an older me looking back on this moment will be happily single, rocking on a porch somewhere reading this and thinking how little I knew in my youth, and how wonderfully God has blessed me, even with no family left to speak of. Maybe that same older version of me will have simply stopped desiring a husband and look at all people, man, woman, child, with a kindly twinkle in her eye that evokes thoughts of visits to grandma around Christmas time - cheer, hot cocoa, reading by a roaring fire. Maybe… can you hear my eye roll? To take it one step further, I actually fear that reality. If singleness is a byproduct of enlightenment, I’d rather be ignorant!
I don’t understand why I feel so strongly for these things. To be loved, not as a daughter or a sister or a friend, but to be loved as a woman is loved by her man. To be chosen, to be desired - not just my physical presence in the room, but to be desired physically, pined for in a way where no one else will do. Isn’t that what we were created for as humans? Romantic relationship = marriage = children = the continuation of the human population! Sort of necessary! And me over here, trying to do it the right way, trying to wait on God to bring the right man along who will pursue me, trying to listen to God’s desires for me not my own, trying to actually find a godly man, trying to wait to have sex until my wedding night… trying.
This song and dance is getting so very old. I’m cool with waiting, because I must be, and I’m exceedingly thankful for God’s provision in my life, but I find myself looking up to heaven with an exasperated look on my face because a girl can’t just live her life with no semblance of a plan AT ALL and actually accomplish anything in the way of goals! I’m confused at which direction I should be looking! I mean, when you hit certain life markers, career, marriage and children, they ground you to a degree. You find yourself digging in a little deeper where you are planted and in many ways that begins to solidify your Christian ministry. Even other Christians look at you differently, like you’re of healthy mind and spirit, when will you settle down and begin to build a family, set down roots? I would even say assimilating into church culture is stressful as a 30-something single, and church is where you are suppose to feel the most accepted and free to be you! So I don’t fit in at church, and I don’t fit into typical dating culture (the no sex before marriage thing does that for me), my married friends are wondering about me (she’s too picky), and my unmarried friend group is getting younger and younger because… everyone else is married. It’s like the walls are closing in. It’s hard not to feel sort of … TRAPPED.
I have given so many things over to God in my life, dreams, deep deep heart desires, hopes in every stage of my being that I wanted, but were never given to me. And don’t get me wrong I am so very blessed, so incredibly blessed by Him! I am not naive to think that I have gotten myself any of the day to day blessings that I enjoy, but I am also aware of the many things I have given to Him that He has taken from me and not given back “in His due time.” Oh yes, I know those words of advice well, just give it to God and He will find the right time to give it back to you for His purpose. Am I a horrible, horrible person for remembering the things I’ve given to Him and never see again? And I know with those things He has taken them because they were never good for me or right for me. We’ve always had a pretty serious understanding in that area. I ask Him regularly to take from me the things that do not belong in His plan for my life, even if He has to pry those things from my fingers. That sort of prayer request in pretty harsh, but sometimes love is harsh, and the leaves of the tree must be pruned to provide deeper, truer growth. Still it’s hard for me to admit to this most basic connection of facts. I’m asking for God to protect me and keep me from what is not in His plan for me, and I can never seem to find a romantic relationship - it’s like I repel them… Is this God’s way of showing me what I desire most was never in His plan for me. Is He answering my prayer again and again only to see my disappointed response over and over? The reality of that possibility leaves me with one feeling… hopelessness.
Many people, most people, will never know the reality of an utterly-single life. They will have relationships trailing behind them in some fashion or another, the one who got away, the steady boyfriend in high school, the rebound. Memories fond or otherwise of who they were in that moment and how they have changed over time marked by… relationship
Who am I? I don’t have a trail to look back on, and for so many years, that never seemed to be a big deal. I always thought, “it will happen in God’s perfect timing,” but what if it never does? What if there is no such thing as God’s perfect timing for this because He never intends to give this heart-wrenching dream back to me? Where do I go from that reality?
I could write a whole bunch of Bible verses about waiting and God’s timing and how He has my best intentions at heart right here, but I honestly just feel drained and a little heartbroken right now…
So I ask again... God, what are you doing?
PS: Ouch! Feelings like these are tough, and in the moment, can feel incredibly suffocating. Sometimes it’s just a second, a thought, that takes you from happiness to despair and then the real need surfaces. What do I do in these moments of doubt?