I know most girls expect to have a boyfriend, get married and have babies, because, well...that's just what is supposed to happen. Some may think, sure there are girls who stay single and don’t get married, but surely that won't be me. I have a God-given desire for it, so why would it not happen? Ask me at the age of 18 what my thoughts were on that and I would have told you exactly that. Fast forward to 11 years later and my "status" has not changed. As I witnessed friend after friend get married, have babies and "move on" in their lives, I began to be discouraged wondering why it wasn’t happening that way for me. I was becoming exactly what I told myself I never wanted to be. I never wanted a closet full of bridesmaids dresses and formal shoes without it accompanied by my own beautiful white wedding gown. But that’s exactly how it went for me. I told myself those older single girls must be so depressed and lonely, but that will never be me.
How foolish was I! And also WRONG! I am here to tell you that I walked into the exact thing I feared the most as an immature, ignorant 18 year old who thought she had it all figured out. God has been so good to me in my season of singleness! No, it’s not always easy being the third wheel (or the fifth or seventh wheel for that matter), or playing Spousology with couples and being "paired" with your younger brother (we won btw). Nor is it easy, bless their hearts, when people make well meaning suggestions of who to get to know and I could pair up with, as a solution to my singleness. I am here to tell you that although it is difficult to swallow that I am walking the valley I feared the most, God has also brought me up to the moutain top, to see him in ways that I never knew before! It’s been a sanctifying season, being tried with fire. But, there are no regrets. I did not choose this path for myself. My heavenly Father did. I would like to share some things that have made this extended season of singleness a blessing, and what I have learned about God in this time and encourage any other single sister who may be reading this.
1. I have learned that Jesus is enough. Yep. He is everything. I came to the realization that even if God gave me exactly what I wanted in a man, that without Christ, I would not be happy. Joy comes from Jesus. Psalm 16:11 "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasure for ever more." Through many struggles of letting go of my desire to be married, God faithfully showed me I could still be happy and enjoy serving him alone. I realized that even if God answered my prayers for a husband, that He alone is my prize, and that anything apart from him would not only dishonour him, but would also make me miserable. Besides, I have seen far too many Christian marriages where one is looking to their spouse to fulfill the desire that can only truly be filled by Christ and it really makes marriage not look like something I want to enter into.
2. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). No, I don't just constantly sit at home with my eyes closed and pray God would make my husband come knocking at my door. But I have learned that prayer is vital in every area of our lives. Whether single or married, prayer is something we can do anywhere, at any time. For me, I often am driving alone in my car and find that to be a great time to talk to the Lord. Sometimes I enjoy praying scripture, especially the Psalms. I have also written down prayers over the years, and I enjoy going back and reflecting on how God has worked in me and how he is answering prayer. One thing that greatly blesses me and blows me away still, is the fact that he hears his children. 1 John 5:13 - 15 "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." If we know and are confident in our position as his child (v.13), then we can have the confidence that he hears and answers our prayers (v.14&15). Without being a born again believer, we cannot have the confidence that he hears our petitions. But, to his children, we can have full assurance just like we have that assurance of salvation, so we can have that assurance that he hears our prayers. For me knowing that I am being heard by the God who loves me unconditionally, gives me confidence and boldness to keep praying and simply choosing to believe when all odds are against me.
3. God is teaching me to hold my dreams loosely. Although I am confident that God hears me in my prayers, I also recognize that the results are not up to me. Surrendering control is a very difficult thing for me to do. Just because we are asking God to do something for us, does not mean God is at our disposal and he will give us what we want, when we want, and how we want it. I love what Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” I have learned this verse not to mean that if I am happy and all excited about Jesus, he will give me whatever I want. Rather, I have learned it to mean that by finding my delight and source of joy in Christ, he will place the desires in my heart that he wants me to have. They will be in accordance to his will, and guess what else? If he places them there, it’s up to me to let him finish the work (Psalm 138:8), and accomplish what he wants to accomplish in my life, when and how ever he wants. “Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Not me, but my God will bring his will to pass in my life. Surrender is never easy for anyone, but it’s foundational to our walk with the Lord. By not surrendering our lives and dreams and desires to him, we are essentially saying that we don’t trust God. I was really burdened when a dear sister showed me how much pride I was harbouring in my life by simply not trusting the Lord. God resists the proud but lovingly gives grace to the humble, because he really does care about us (1 Peter 5:5-7). So, although I still have many things that I would like to see come to pass in my life, I am learning just to submit them to prayer and surrender, knowing that God wants good things for me, and he will only do what is best for me, if I let him. I hold my dreams up to him with an open hand, and if he chooses to take them away and give me something else, I have confidence that it will only be better (Ephesians 3:20).
I am learning to rest in these things. Resting in what God says in his word is difficult. But faith is believing without seeing (Hebrews 11:1). Also, resting in the finished work of Jesus on the cross is vital. That work on the cross defines us. We are redeemed and set free. By the cross there is no condemnation! (Romans 8:1) We are his children. (Romans 8: 15-17) I know that there is nothing I can do change my “status”, but by praying and trusting him, I know I can leave the results up to him and he will accomplish his good work in me. If we can trust him to redeem us and save us from all our sin and have his Spirit come and dwell within us, we can rest in knowing he is our everything. We can rest in knowing that he hears us. We can rest in knowing that he will finish what he has started, and he has good plans for all of us. Even if God never gives me what I have always desired, I realized that I would be ok, because I am ok. His word has given us many promises, and whether we are single or married, young or old, we can draw near to him, and expect in confidence that he will draw near to us. (James 4:8).
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11
“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”
Lighthouse Gospel Church