I don’t really believe that God is good and gives me all I need. Yeah, I admit it. You should too. Because if we did, we wouldn’t worry. We wouldn’t cry. We wouldn’t stress out. We wouldn’t sit and make endless lists and plans. We wouldn’t wake up in the middle of the night and think, I am all alone in this world.
We believe some kind of mish mosh of God is good and He gives us all we need except for that one thing He must have forgotten about. Or maybe our beliefs turn into something darker like mine did – God is actually a bit of a sadomasochist.
I was single until last year when I turned 39. My advice for women younger than me who are struggling with being single? Trust me, it gets more difficult. I know – really encouraging right? I would ask them, have you reorganized your entire wardrobe by color schemes at 4 am because you can’t get to sleep and you feel so incredibly painfully alone and are trying to ignore the temptation to masturbate? No? Just wait. Have you ever sat alone at a bar just before closing because all your friends left to go home to their significant others and you just can’t quite get yourself to go home to an empty house and you’d rather talk to the completely uninteresting but mildly attractive (or is that the vodka) bartender? No? Well good. I will advise against that. Be stronger than me. But talk to me when you’re 37 and your last boyfriend was 2 years ago.
But through it all looking back, God proved Himself more faithful than I may have ever known otherwise. In my singleness, I was faced with no excuses but myself. It wasn’t about my spouse or my kids. It stopped being about my parents a long time ago. I had my own choices and consequences to consider and I had built my own life so far. And it wasn’t until I found TRUE contentment in my singleness and in my identity solely in Christ as His bride that I knew I was even actually ready to be married – joined for all eternity with that one man – and I finally realized it was worth all the years of loneliness and pain to know and fully be known by a God who chased after me, who pursued me and won me for all time.
To be clear, the happy ending is not that I’m married and madly in love now – though that’s certainly a huge plus – but the true “carrot” if you will is the greatest love I have ever known in God my savior and groom. And without really knowing that love, we would fail miserably in any and every marriage we enter. Without getting to know that love, we haven’t yet discovered our true identity and aren’t continually growing in that truth. I’ve watched friends’ marriages crash and burn a hundred times because they have forgotten their true identities in Christ, their true status as children of God. They have forgotten how to forgive, how to grieve their own sin and arrogance, how to be kind and tender-hearted, how to not blame the other people in their lives for everything. We all have our reasons for getting jaded and bitter. In my singleness I looked at others and thought if they only knew what they had. But someone was looking at me with the same thought.
I would say that it wasn’t until January of 2012 that I really fully accepted and found hope – that’s right, hope – in my single status. Not hope for a spouse, but hope for my life and worth and value in exactly who I was right then and there and all I had to offer sans spouse. I wasn’t a wife. I wasn’t a mom. And I wasn’t “waiting” to be those things. I was already WHOLE. And I was cherished and I was lifted up to be a daughter of the King.
And in my weakest moments now, even as a wife and now a mom, I remember that my identity is not in those titles. My hope and my life is not solely in my relational status. It is now and always was and ever shall be in my place in God’s kingdom, and because of that I can face all things, come what may, and whatever state I am in, I find contentment.
Not to say I don’t struggle any more. Loneliness and pain isn’t over when you say I do. But I find when I am sinning – not trusting God, not getting my way, bitterness toward others who are making my life difficult, questioning God’s goodness to us – that is a trigger to me that I have lost sight of my identity. I’ve lost sight of who I am to God – what I mean to Him and what He has done for me to give me that identity. And all that happens in this life to us and around us is made for one purpose alone – to point us back to God. The hardships are there to force us to reconcile our experience with our purpose. What I go through, what I feel is to strengthen my position as a bride to a loving Groom who has given everything to join me to Him so that my joy may be full.