A few weeks ago my long time friend, Rachel Storey, asked me if she could write for my blog still. I believe I asked her a while back and because she is incredible (teaching full time, studying to get her masters, and very involved at her church) she didn’t have much free time. I said yes. One thing I admire about Rachel is that she is always striving to do and be better- wherever she is. She also has had a few tough blows and she keeps pressing on. She is one of my dearest friend and I’m grateful for her writing this blog. ______________________________________
You are no one’s number one.
I can remember the exact moment this was whispered to me, by me, probably fact checked by Satan. My mother, my sister and I had just found out my father had died after being struck by a car. Within minutes, maybe seconds, of hearing the news I knew I would need to take care of my mom and sister and be strong for them. So that’s what I did. I hugged them, I prayed, and I began planning for our trip to South Florida for my father’s memorial service. All the while, this thought was nagging me at any open moment.
You are no one’s first priority.
The truth is, I’m not. I don’t have someone to share the journey of life with. I am single and I always have been. I’ve never been married, I’ve never had a boyfriend, I have never dated anyone, I’ve never been asked out on a date, and I have never been kissed. Seriously. Nothing. Did I mention I am 30? I’ve been waiting for quite some time now. All of this isn’t for lack of trying. I have tried my best to be available and give chosen men the greenlight, but they didn’t move forward. Some made a right or left at the intersection where we met and were polite and declined with kind words. The worst ones made illegal u-turn’s into the opposite direction and didn’t bother to respond at all. Even if the greenlight was in their face and people behind them were honking to let them know it was there. I have even tried online dating but nothing happened there as well. It didn’t seem natural and I received messages from creepy older men who I am not sure how they found my street at all.
This constant state of rejection leads me to thinking something must be wrong with me. Is it my weight? If so, how shallow are these men? Is my past of being sexually abused written on my forehead? If so, don’t they know it wasn’t my fault and God actually protected me and that I am not damaged because He is the one who redeems? Is it because no one would describe me as being meek and mild? If it is that last one, y’all need to read the Bible some more and discover all the loud and powerful women in it.
I write all of this because I need to show some vulnerability and be truthful for you to truly understand that my interests, feelings, concerns, hopes, dreams, good days and bad days are not on the thoughts of any man. This is most evident when various struggles enter my life. It has become more and more evident over this past year since my father died.
I struggled with my grief a lot in the following months after his death. I was reminded of a lot of things my father wouldn’t have the opportunity to do like attending a possible wedding and husband or grandchildren to meet. I don’t express my emotions outwardly often, but experiencing a death so close to me changed that for a while. I found myself bothered by things that didn’t usually bother me and crying at the oddest moments in front of people I didn’t want to cry in front of. I joined a Grief Share recovery group to help with this but I was constantly reminded everywhere I went that I had no one who looked out for my needs or knew me so intimately the way a husband would. I had never felt so alone before, and Satan took advantage of that. He led me to believe I was unwanted, unloved, and uncared for.
On top of all of these emotions, I was dealing with what I have always dealt with. Desiring to be married and have a spouse is often seen as a selfish and desperate desire, especially in the Christian world. It is okay to desire a promotion, a new career, pregnancy, a baby, etc. It is not wrong or easier to desire those things. It is not wrong to desire anything God meant as good for your life. But when you say you desire marriage and the intimacy that comes with it, people often see you as weak and desperate and selfish and unsatisfied with your life. All because of the desire for something God designed and created. God is the one who decided that it was not good for man to be alone. And when Adam had seen Eve he proclaimed that she was the bone of his bone and the flesh of his flesh. God had given him what he may not even be sure he desired. It is not wrong for me or for any other person to desire a marriage designed by God. But when I share this desire, I am met with these usual phrases:
“Oh trust me, marriage isn’t easy.” Well, duh.
“You’d want to be alone if you were married someone like my husband.” Did you really just say that?
“You’re better off single, trust me.” Why are you married?
“It will happen for you someday.” You should stop telling people that because you can’t guarantee it.
“Singleness is a gift from God.” Sure doesn’t feel like it sometimes.
Marriage isn’t for everyone. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul talks about what I like to call “Single Life Swag.” He advises the singles and widows to stay unmarried as he is because life is simpler that way. He also expresses that the same way marriage isn’t for everyone, single life swag isn’t for everyone as well. I have often wondered and prayed about if I have single life swag. I do know that being single makes life simpler. In fact, I remind myself of this when I begin to feel lonely or hyper focused on the fact that I am not married. Because I am single, I can spend all day Sunday serving the youth at my church. Because I am single, I don’t have to run any vacation or trip ideas by another person. Because I am single, I can devote a lot of time to students at work. Because I am single, I get to choose how to spend my days and devote many of them to learning more about God.
I have an amazing life as a single person, a life that I love. But because I am a human who can feel many things at once; those amazing things don’t negate my desire for marriage. I am not sure that I am destined for single life swag. God gave me this heart and He designed me to be romantic (I think I enjoy Christian romance novels and Jane Austen period pieces too much to be left single. I’m also writing this as I watch Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South for the 100th time. Oh that train scene at the end).
But I have to be patient and wait. Thankfully, I am in good company and I just blew my own mind thinking of these similarities. Guess who else never married and never dated at the age of 30? Guess who spent their single life pursuing the purpose and work God designed them for? Guess who else was able to travel? Guess who else was able to devote time to their students?
Jesus has walked where I am walking, waited where I am waiting, and prayed where I am praying. I may not be a man’s number one, but Jesus has been and will always be MY number one. He is the One that matters most and He is no ordinary man. My interests, concerns, feelings, hopes, and dreams are always on His mind. He knows my heart and knows my desires. He has taken care of me and protected me in ways a husband never could. I just have to wait.
So what do I do while I wait? The same thing I have been doing. I pray and worship. I serve God in the ways He designed me to serve. I do my best to prepare myself for marriage by observing it in action (Trust me, if I know you personally and you are married, I have watched you and your spouse interact and I have taken notes. You have files. Just kidding. Maybe). All of these things have taught me not to settle and to keep my standards high.
I can know all of this and still desire marriage. I can be satisfied in and thankful for my single life and still desire marriage. I’m human and humans are sometimes contradictory. God is constant, even when I am not. I am not ashamed of wanting what God has created to be good. I am not ashamed of being single and inexperienced at 30. I am not ashamed of making Christ my number one. He has a plan for my life and I will follow that plan. He is mine and I am His forever – forever longer than any marriage made on earth.
“I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19-20 (NKJV)
P.S. If you happen to know a guy willing to be the number two in my life, feel free to tell him to holler at your girl. I feel like I already have an army of more experienced women and mentors either praying for me or searching for me and more join the party whenever I share this part of my heart. Pray for your other single friends too. So much better than online dating :o)
Song of the week: Not For A Moment, by Meredith Andrews