I've been reflecting on my single years...

Amidst all the excitement of this new season I find myself in, I still remember very well the struggles of the other: desiring marriage - or at least to be in a relationship moving towards it - but having no change of circumstance in view.

I know that, at twenty-six, I'm relatively young, but when your choice career goal is to be a wife, make a home, and mother children, waiting through much of your twenties feels like a long time!

But I am thankful for these past years of being single, of learning to trust the Lord and surrender many desires and plans to Him. I can honestly say that living with the tension of waiting and not knowing has been one of the greatest means of sanctification in my life over the last few years specifically.

So here are a few things on my heart that I want to share with any of you girls who are where I was - probaby nothing new here, but things I often needed to be reminded of and encouraged in:

Singleness can be a unique means of transforming us to be like Christ.

It's through a prolonged time of singleness that God has shown me my sinful tendencies for discontentment, for lack of patience and trust. Seeing these things so clearly surface from my heart has helped me repent and look to Christ and the power of the gospel to change. I had to realize that my circumstances were not the cause of my sin in these areas - I needed to learn, like Paul, contentment in whatever state I was in. (And I have a feeling this will be a life-long lesson.)

Singleness offers unique opportunity to be devoted to the things of the Lord. (1 Cor 7:32-35)

I realize that I'm not married yet, so I am not excluded from this concept, but I'm beginning to understand the difference that will come between being fully focused and devoted to "the things of the Lord", and having a husband and family to focus on. I'm thankful that (by God's grace), I've had a passion for studying His Word, listening to sermons and messages, reading, and serving in some specific ministries over my years of being single. Sadly, I haven't always made good use of the extra time I've had, but I have grown and benefited where I did. Don't treat this one flippantly, ladies! Be purposeful in carving out time to study, to learn, and to serve. You're building a foundation that will bring great blessing and help in years to come, whether you marry or not.

Living with unfulfilled desire can press us to desire and seek things of eternal significance.

It's through this season that God has drawn me, often in my lonliness or desperation, nearer to His side. He's used many related struggles to cause me to seek Him, to hold an eternal perspective, to learn to see outside of my very small life and focus on a hurting world that desperately needs the truth that is in Christ.

He's reminded me, in many ways, that life is about Him and His glory, and that living to know and love and serve Him is more satisfying and joy-giving than the fulfillment of any of my earthly dreams and desires could ever be.

I won't finish off with a neat and tidy "just keep on and eventually marriage will come..." Life is uncertain. We're not promised marriage. Even if I do marry, Lord willing, I'm not guaranteed ease. I'm not exempt from the possibility of sorrow or even tragedy touching my life.

Whatever our state, let's keep striving after contentment, to find unshakable joy in God. Let's continue to anchor all of our hope in Christ Jesus who will never, ever fail us. Living for Him, we won't be disappointed.


Loris said...

I love how open and honest you are in your blog. It really gives us all a chance to see a glimpse of the godly character you have.

I also like that you touched on how “Singleness can be a unique means of transforming us to be like Christ.” Amen! It is through the difficult periods (which of course, for some can be singleness) that we grow (Romans 5:3-5 ESV). And when we are going through those periods of hardship, suffering or desperation, God knows that it is those times that we draw to Him most, and it is often when we are in that state He can shape us best to conform to His image. We are often at our best when we feel we are at our worst and weakest point for as He told the Apostle Paul “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

In the end though, we should always ask for His will to be done. Knowing that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28). Whether it is our will or not, whether it seems good to us or not doesn’t matter for we need to always remember in all things, His ways are much higher than ours and only He knows what’s better for us.

Looking forward to many more great blog posts! :)

PS: Being such a great writer you should really start writing some books. ;)

Stephanie said...

Thanks Loris - you are too complimentary, as usual. :)

I hope any honesty I display on here only shows how in need I am of God's help and His kindness in giving me grace and working in my life.

And thanks for your comments, which are always much appreciated!

julie said...

You shared a lot of wisdom here, Steph! I am sure Loris is enjoying getting to know the heart that God has been cultivating and preparing in you! :)

Rachel said...

I found your blog through a fellow reader, and quickly found I appreciate and identify with the thoughts and desires expressed in your posts. Congratulations on your relationship! And it is very thoughtful of you to remember those of us who are still waiting and seek to encourage us with the lessons you have learned. The fact that God has blessed you with a relationship is also an encouragement, so don't hesitate to be as real as you feel comfortable with there as well. :)