By BreAnne (Our oldest)
The thought of it used to make me cringe. It isn't so much that I am entering into my late twenties as it is that I am doing so as a single woman. Life hasn't quite panned out the way that I had planned. Oh sure, I had planned to take my time about getting married and had even looked forward to my single years. I couldn't wait to use this season for God's glory and the many adventures He would call me to. I remember when I was six, my grandpa teased me about wanting great-grandkids. I distinctively remember saying I was going to take my time and choose a good one. In that moment, I chose the age of twenty-five as a good age to be married. In Junior High, I would listen to my "Beauty and the Beast" sound track, especially the song where Belle sings, "I want adventure in the great wide somewhere. I want it more than I can stand and for once it might be grand to have someone understand I want so much more than they've got planned." Wanting more than "this provincial life" echoed within me as I looked forward to my post-high school graduation years. These last eight years have been grand! I have gone on many adventures that both thrilled my desire for lofty activity and required me to find my strength in God. I have seen many places, smelled many aromas, tasted many flavors, and experienced many highs and lows. I have been all over America and even to two foreign countries. I have drunk deeply from the teachings of those wiser than I. I have wearied myself in the service of the Lord. I have been blessed to pour out my love in friendship to many people. These have been good, fruitful, and challenging years. God has used these years to woo me into trusting Him in ever deepening ways. Here I am now, on the cusp of entering my late twenties and I have been very satisfied with my single years. I have very few regrets from these years and have maximized them to the best of my ability.
Now, as I near my twenty-seventh birthday, I desire to embark on a new adventure. I desire deeply to love my earthly prince, settle down, and start a family. I'm going to be honest here, there are some things about being a longer standing single that are wearying and I have had to wrestle with them. Watching your peers and those younger than you get married and start families can make you wonder if you're missing the train. There's this lie that tries to mess with your head and heart, "God is holding out on you." It is frustrating to be seen as a "single girl," while girls five or more years younger than you are referred to as "married women." I cannot tell you how many times I have seen a young mother in public and my heart just ached so bad with the desire to be a mother. I have played the comparison game, a very destructive way of thinking, and found myself tempted to think that surely my married friends must be better than me simply because they have captured the heart of a man. That diamond ring on their fingers signifies that they are worthy of love, pursuing, and commitment. Of course my lack of such a ring would seem to say that I do not posses such worth. I know it isn't true, but such a notion visits me in my darkest moments of fear.
The other day, I was thinking that someday I should write a book about singlehood. Of course my next thought was that I should wait until I am married to write such a book so that there is a happy ending that will give to hope to the ever growing demographic of single young women in their late twenties and early thirties. About a week ago, I started reading Set-Apart Femininity by Leslie Ludy which has been challenging me in my thoughts regarding my plight as a single woman and in my Christian walk. Thus, my next thoughts were stimulated by things I have been reading. Why is it that the goal of singlehood for so many of us is to become not single? The goal of being married isn't to become not married. The goal of parenthood isn't to become not parents. The goal is not kicking the kids out of the house. Having the kids spread their wings is a natural outcome of the goal of raising mature God-loving children. It flows out of the goal, but it in itself is not the goal. Likewise, marriage flows out of a season of singleness. It will naturally happen and it is a beautiful thing. It is healthy, typical, and glorious. However, becoming not single should not be the goal of singlehood. The goal of singlehood should be the same as the goal of any other season of our lives. The goal should be becoming more and more like Christ. The goal should be surrendering more and more of ourselves to His lordship and love. The goal should be falling more and more in love with Him. The goal should be becoming transformed more and more by the glory of who He is. The goal should be becoming less, while He is becoming more. The goal should be walking with Him more and more intimately every day. The goal should be trusting Him more and more with every passing year. The goal should be dieing to self more and more each day. As Leslie says,
- Jesus Christ- not finding the right guy- must be the focus of your life. He must be enough, even if no earthly love story ever comes your way. God may have given you the desire for a beautiful earthly romance, but remember to continually give that dream back to Him and hold it with an open hand... Rather than searching for a human love story to meet your deepest needs for fulfillment and security, find your fulfillment and security in your intimate romance with the Prince of your soul. As beautiful as a God-scripted earthly love story might be, it pales in comparison to the breathtaking romance Jesus Christ desires to have with you, His precious princess. Don't let your longing for human love usurp your longing for more and more of Jesus Christ (Ludy, p. 64-5).
Earlier she said,
- In the heart of every young woman lies the intrinsic desire to be found beautiful. But when we come to Jesus, we exchange our desires to be noticed and appreciated for the desire that He and He alone would shine gloriously through our beings. Maybe no one will ever notice us. But that makes no difference as long as they notice Him shining through us. We can waste precious time and energy searching for something of worth and value in our own souls. Or we can join the ranks of historical set-apart women and declare, "less of me and more of Him!" That is when our souls will sparkle with the spectacular beauty of Jesus Christ.
- The modern self-worth message says that a woman who is fully alive to herself is a woman who is truly beautiful. But the Biblical and historical message of set-apartness proves that a woman who is completely dead to herself and alive to Christ...is truly the fairest of them all (Ludy, p. 48).
Ok. Enough quoting another's thoughts, back to my own (which have been influenced by others). No matter what season you find yourself in, the goal as a Christian should be the same: less of you and more of Him. It's not the most appealing goal to our flesh, but it is the pathway to the peace and contentment that our spirits long for. It is a tough and often lonely road to traverse, but it is the way to avoid petty human mediocrity. Surrender and trust to Jesus, the Love of our souls, is the way to "more than this provincial life." I do not know how many more years I will have to wait for my earthly prince to find me, but I do know the One who holds those years in His hands. I know that He is worthy of my trust. But He is worthy of more than just my trust, He is worthy of my all. He is worthy of my last thought when I lie down at night and my first thought when I wake up. He is worthy of my desires and heart's cries. He is worthy of my longings. He is worthy of my energy and my youth. He is worthy of my time. He is worthy of my goals. He is worthy of so much more than just my trust, He is worthy of my everything. I have given Him my trust and worshipped Him as worthy of my trust. However, it is time to recognize Him as worthy of so much more. He is worthy of my focus during this season and every season to follow. He is worthy of my life. He is worthy of my everything. He is worthy of "more than this provincial life."
Living all of life before the face of God...