This morning as I scrolled through my timeline on Facebook I came across this post from a friend that I admire.
“Singleness is not a curse or a sentence. It is an opportune time for you to reflect on your past relationships and question if you were really relationship material at that time. We all have some regrets and some have even found the right one through patience and obedience. For those of us who are still single, the test is how many times you have to say “No” to you. Our blessing is right in front of us, but because of a defective picker, we made decisions based off of feelings instead of the spirit. I refuse to be guided by sight anymore. I surrendered my life to Christ and in Him I walk by faith regardless of my flesh seeking what it wanted in the past. Singleness may feel like a curse or a sentence but it is the best thing that you can do for yourself as God shapes and molds you and the right person that has already been handpicked for you.”
My friends statement received a lot of amen’s but also some push back. As I thought about his statement I found myself able to give the Amen but I also understand how singleness can be seen as a curse or a sentence. Not long ago I believed that my singleness was God punishing me because of my transgressions. I believe that because of what I did God was withholding marriage from me. And it has only been within the last year that I have come to terms with the fact that God forgave me, I just needed to forgive myself.
- Point 1: The bible says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Our sin…past, present or future…does not surprise God. God knew more than 2000 years ago that we would need a Savior because our relationship with him was damaged. And therefore gave the best gift ever, his Son Jesus Christ, who took on the sins of the world (that includes me and you) that we may once again be in right relationship with the Father. God says, “I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. So if God, the creator of the universe, the great I Am forgets our sins then why can’t we? I’ll tell you why, because we have an enemy that seeks to kill, steal, and destroy us and he wants to keep us bound. But the devil is a liar. God has forgiven me….God has forgiven you….we no longer need to live a life of defeat bound to the sin that God has clearly forgiven us for.
As I considered my friend’s statement some more I had to be honest and admit that I do question why I am not and have not ever been married. I struggled for the longest with something that my pastor said, “Every post does not have a lid.” I remember going up to him after service one day and saying to him that every time he said that I wanted to stand up in church and just start screaming because it angered me just much. Why? Because I look at some people who are married or have been married and I think, “How in the heck are they married and I am not. What is wrong with me? “ Hearing him say that challenged me because I know what I heard God say in May 2011 and yet marriage had not come in 2008 when I first heard my pastor say that and marriage still has not come in 2016. AND God has not said anything else about it since. So I find that I question whether or not I really heard God say that or is his silence a test of my faith.
- Point 2: God says that his thoughts are not like our thoughts and that his ways are far beyond anything we can imagine. At some times it can feel like God is speaking nonstop. Answering prayers and waters our faith. And then there are times when it seems like God has turned his back on us. Times when it seems like God has forgotten us. Times when it seems like our lives are spiraling out of control and God doesn’t say a mumbling word. He goes silent. He’s absent in our life and our situation. But God is never absent. We only need to look around and see him displayed so brilliantly. AND God promised that he would never leave us nor forsake us and the bible tells us that God is not a man that he should lie. So since we know that God can’t and won’t lie, then we know that he’s not absent, even when he’s silent. I find that in the moments of silence is when I need to praise God the hardest. I find that in the moments of silence I just need to go back to what I know. Go back to what was the last thing I heard God say and hold on to that. Go back to the very basis of my faith. Go back and remind myself of the promises of God. So I encourage you that if you are at a point in your life where it seems as though nothing is going right and God is silent, praise him! Worship him! Go back to the basis of your faith! And remember and speak the promises of God over your life and situation. Remember, Jesus was led into the wilderness and for 40 days he was tempted by the enemy. It seemed like maybe God had forsaken his son but he hadn’t. It was a test. And God’s silence in our life is a test. Are we going to trust God? Or are we going to lean to our own understanding?
Something else that stuck out for me in my friend’s statement was “Our blessing is right in front of us but because of a defective picker, we made decision based off of feelings instead of the spirit.” When my last relationship ended God said to me, “Are you ready to do it my way now?” I had been doing it my way and it clearly was not working. God was just waiting for me to come to myself and surrender. I go back to; God’s ways are far beyond anything we can imagine. His ways don’t make sense to the world and in a moment of honest, don’t make sense to me a lot of the time. But his ways are perfect. His ways will keep us from a lot of heartache. If only we would do things his way. God said, “I know the plans I have for you and my plans are to prosper you and not harm you. To give you a future and hope.” God has amazing plans for each of us but we all have at some point thought that our way was better and so off we went to do things our way. Only to find out like the prodigal son that our way only landed us in a world of trouble. But God, who is full of mercy and grace and love for us in spite of us, receives us back with open arms. He heals our broken hearts and binds up our wounds.
- Point 3: I spoke yesterday about trusting God with every area of our life. When it comes to matters of the heart and waiting on my husband I have to give complete trust to God. I have to know that God knows what is best. I have to know that there is nothing that I can do on my own merit to land a husband. Well, I could but it could be so much more costly that way. Trust God enough in whatever area you are withholding from him to know that he knows best. He created you. He knows what you need and what you don’t need. He sees what you can’t. He knows what you don’t. And if we would just surrender, what he wants to bless us with will be so much better than anything we can do our own. He will do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could think or ask.
I no longer view my singleness as a curse or a sentence. I’ve begun to look at it as an opportunity to grow. I see it now as time spent with God to prepare me to be a wife. You see, I don’t just want to be a wife. I want to be an excellent wife. I want to be the type of wife where my husband’s friends look at him and say, “God favored you.” I want him to be proud to call me his wife. And to quote Cheesette Cowan, I want to be my husband’s crown. So I’m putting in the work now. I’m not concerned with the wedding or the ring. I’m focused on the marriage. And….and I thank Cheesette for this as well…..I believe that God gave me this desire. And I believe that as I delight myself in him he will give me the desires of my heart. But until then I plan to continue to lay the foundation. I realize that not every marriage is the same and everything won’t work for every couple. But I do believe that there are some basic foundational truths that work regardless and I am feeding off all of the information that I am receiving; learning, gleaning and praying.
Finally, I’ll be 50 in five months. If anyone had told me in my 20s or 30s that I would be 50 and not married I would have told them they were crazy. But here I am. I would be lying if I did not say I do think about what if it does not happen. I do think about that. I think about how I will feel. But more importantly I think about who will take care of me if I get sick? Who will be there for me as I age? When you’re married and have a family it’s assumed that your spouse and/or kids will care for you when you become sick or as your age. I understand it doesn’t happen that way all of the time but it should. But for someone like myself who is single, it is something that I have to think about. And it’s something that I pray about. But even if that “what if” happens, I believe that God will be with me then. Again, he promised to NEVER leave me. So even if I find myself in the last quarter of life and I never married I know that God is with me.
- Point 4: Regardless of where life takes you, God is there. He was there in the fiery furnace and he will be with you and with me as well. We just have to trust him. See how everything goes back to trust God? God loves us so much. And if he didn’t leave us when we were in our mess, surely he isn’t going to leave us now.