This is a word I have had to learn to love. I never ‘dated around’ in high-school. I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 17. That relationship, though my longest, was extremely unhealthy. I was terrified of losing him, therefore confrontation of any kind wasn’t an option in my book. I did everything I could to make him happy. I was also extremely immature and the relationship was anything but Christ centered.
He was in the army, and we went through long-distance for a very long time. I was depressed my freshman year of college because my entire life centered around him. Would I be getting a letter from boot camp today? Would he call me tonight? I’d never make any plans because I was terrified I’d miss a call from him. I lost friends. I didn’t do well in classes. I didn’t go to church because I was afraid of missing him. I didn’t live my life, at all. And when we got engaged in April of 2009, my life centered around planning a wedding and moving to Alaska to be with him. So when he called me at 5 AM on a Sunday morning in June to call everything – the wedding, our relationship, everything, off, my world crumbled around me. I wasn’t enrolled for the next school year. I had nowhere to live. We’d taken out a huge loan for the wedding.
And I didn’t know how to be single.
Years later, and I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I’m single. A lot of times my mind will wander off. I could be a mother by now. We would have just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary this month. But you know what? I couldn’t be more happy that he called it off. That statement took me two years to be able to admit. I’m happy that I didn’t marry him.
God had a lot of growing up for me to do. He still does. I’m not saying that the breakup did me good in every area. I’m terribly insecure when it comes to meeting new people. Because he ended things so suddenly, and with no reason, I had a lie pounded into my head that something was wrong with me. I believed that I couldn’t make anyone happy. I believed that no one could love me, because the only man that had ever told me he loved me ended things. I believed I wasn’t beautiful.
I believed I wasn’t worth it.
Four years later, and God has worked miracles in pouring truth into my life and erasing those lies that plagued me and kept me awake night after night. While I still deal with the insecurities of meeting people, and perhaps have become more introverted than I already was, I do believe I’m beautiful. I do believe that I’m worth it. And I do believe that if God calls me to be single, then those truths are still true.
Did you read that last statement? Read it again. If God calls me to give up one of the things I have prayed for endlessly – then I’m okay with that.
Two stories from the Bible popped into my head at random last week. One was the story of Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son, Isaac. The son that God had promised him, despite all odds. The son that would lead to him being father of the nations. The other story that popped up into my head was that of the Rich Young Ruler.
Abraham was willing to sacrifice that which was most important to him because God asked him to. His devotion for God outweighed his love for his son. That’s a pretty big devotion. The rich young ruler tells the opposite story. He was a good person – he kept the biblical commandments, but when asked to give up his material possessions, that he loved more than anything, he walked away sad. He couldn’t give up what he loved the most in order to follow Christ.
I don’t know what made these stories pop into my head. They just kind of were… there. And I knew that if I were in these stories, the longing for a family would be inserted in the spots of Isaac and material possessions. God confronted me with this question, “Would you be willing to give up what you want the most in this world – a family of your own – to follow me?”
And for a long time, I pretended that question didn’t exist. I thought if I said ‘yes’ to that question, then that was a life sentence.
But that’s not what this was. That’s not what this is. It is an acknowledgement that a life pursuing Christ is better than a life pursuing a family. A life putting God first is better than a life putting temporary desires at the top of my priority list. It’s acknowledging that God’s plan for my life is better than me trying to set my own life up. It’s telling God, “You know best.” It’s telling him that I believe in His promises.
A husband and a family could very well be in God’s plan for me. It also couldn’t. But after days of struggling, I sat in bed crying one night, and I let go. I released the death-grip I had on this plan and gave it to God. And I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that it’s all good. I’m not saying I’m never going to struggle with this again. It’s hard when your high school friends and college friends get engaged on facebook, and you receive five wedding invitations on the same day. But I no longer feel like I’m in a state of limbo. I’m not in a state of waiting. I’m not waiting for my husband or waiting for the next phase of my life.
Instead, I’m living the life God has for me NOW. I’m living my single days – no matter how long they last – because that is what God has in store for me NOW. And living in a state of now is better than living in a state of waiting.
If you stuck around to read all of this, I’m really glad. Sometimes you just need to pour your heart out.