I love relationships. I love marriages, weddings, proposals; I love watching Emily cook dinner for Dan and I LOVE babysitting for Kevin and Steph so that they can have a date night. I think one of the most beautiful gifts God can give to his children is to let them experience a glimpse of his steadfast, unconditional, covenental love that he has for us and that can be seen through marriage. I praise God for how men and women were uniquely gifted and called to compliment each other the way the father, son, and spirit do so perfectly. And I love seeing my friends and women I look up to grow in view of their sinfulness and God’s sufficiency as they struggle and fight for love and repentance with their other (sinful) half. I am exceedingly thankful that God has surrounded me with such great marriages that glorify him and give me a picture of his grace!
So with all of that to say, I’m single. For one of the first times in my life as a Christian I don’t have a boyfriend. God is his wisdom and goodness has brought me into a season where I am growing so much deeper with him. This has been a time of finding my hope in God, cutting out idols, and becoming faithful to him alone…before I am even given the opportunity to be faithful to a husband! God is gracious toward me and I have been enjoying this time to grow with Him! When, God willing, I do get married, I am convinced that this time is preparing me be firmly rooted in Christ; clinging to him as my identity instead falling into the trap of placing a weight on my husband that he could never carry. This time of singleness will end up being a gift to my husband!
But, I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t confess that I struggle with this season too. With a culture so centered around success and milestones, I feel like this is my next step. In a year I will be out of college, out of Oxford, and in the real world of teaching and being an adult. No longer will I have a community of single young men that I can look through and try to picture a life with. I’ve been anxious lately, feeling like my time to be pursued will pass and then there will be no one left for me.
I know I’m not alone. Lately, this has been such a topic of conversation among the single women in my life. Its easy for me to look at all the characteristics that make the girls in my community so GREAT and question God’s wisdom in not providing us all with Godly men…Right now. It’s easy for me to keep my hands closed on this area of my life, not trusting that God will, and could, provide someone to partner in the Gospel with me. And god forbid if I am given the gift of singleness for-ev-er…yikes.
But what if I am single forever? Or what if God keeps me in this season for longer than I really want to be? What if I really don’t get married right out of college like I have planned to for so long? Ladies. If I am learning anything, its that singleness is not a hurdle to jump over on the way to marriage! It is a gift just like marriage with its unique callings and blessings! I think we have fallen into the trap (Like Matt Chandler so convictingly joked about) where we think- “ok, if I’m just content, God will bring me someone…” I don’t know what kind of view we have of God, but God is not punishing or withholding any good thing from those who are single! He’s not waiting for us to get our act together before he blesses us. God doesn’t work like that. If he did, we would still be waiting on Jesus to come and trying to be good enough and worthwhile to save. We don’t have to pretend to not desire marriage if we do desire it.
Because don’t get me wrong, I have a STRONG desire to be a wife and a mother and to grow in sanctification with one person for the rest of my years here. I long for companionship with and joyful submission to a husband. God doesn’t want me to view that desire as wrong, but he wants me to see it in its right perspective. My desire for marriage cannot be stronger than my desire for Jesus– not because God will keep it from me if I do desire it too much, but because God is not glorified if anything (even a future spouse) is given more glory than Him!
So I’ve lately trying to 1. Love and treasure Jesus, but 2. learn how to make the best use of my single years to the glory of God! I’ve been studying the Girl Talk “Singleness” series and it has been so good! The Mahaney Women challenge us to tap into the “best deal of singleness!” And this does not mean just “being content” with not being in a relationship. It means seeking out ways to grow as a godly woman in our single years, which in turn will prepare us to be more godly wives and mothers in our married years. And I’m excited to blog about these “deals of singleness” because they have been so encouraging and refreshing! But…I’ve got community group soon so I’ll have to do that later!